The lawsuit brought by two former assistant managers of Borders stores in California, charging that the retailer should have paid them overtime, will go to trial early next year.

First filed in 1996, the lawsuit attained class-action status last July when a California court granted a motion by the plaintiffs to extend the lawsuit to include all assistant managers who worked at a Borders California store between April 10, 1996, and March 18, 2001. In the complaint, the former assistant managers assert that since they spent more than 50% of their time working at tasks they considered to be not managerial, they were entitled to overtime. Borders contends that because their job titles were assistant managers, they were exempt from overtime, no matter what duties they performed.

According to Borders's quarterly report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, attempts at mediation to resolve the matter failed, and the trial is set to begin March 15, 2004. The company said it intends to vigorously defend the action.