California Call Center Overtime
A number of California overtime class action lawsuits have been filed against California call centers, claiming that call center employees are not paid for the time spent logging into their computer systems and other required programs before and after their shift. The wage and hour class action against call centers alleges that call center overtime should be paid if employees are required to work pre-shift and/or post-shift.
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Call Centers (California Overtime)
Class action lawsuits claim that California Call Centers are violating California overtime laws and the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) because call center employees are not paid for the time spent logging into their computer systems and all required programs before and after their shift. Call center employees are constantly required to work "off-the-clock", such as booting up and logging in to computer terminals, accessing a variety of computer applications and programs, skip tracing, and other tasks integral and indispensable to their primary job duties.
Furthermore, call center lawsuits allege that call centers consistently violate federal and state wage and hour laws by failing to pay its call center employees all earned wages and overtime and by failing to pay for lunch breaks.
California Call Center Lawsuits
In 2005, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. settled a Rosemead Call Center Employees Class Action. CountryWide agreed to pay $30 million to settle the claims approximately 400 account executives who worked at Countrywide's California call center over seven years. The settlement covered claims for unpaid overtime wages, reimbursement of wage deductions, compensation for on-duty meal periods, attorneys' fees and related items. Countrywide also agreed to reclassify all of its California call center account executives as non-exempt from state and federal overtime and other wage and hour laws.
According to a 2010 class action lawsuit filed in Orange County, California, Superior Court, Verizon "intentionally and unlawfully failed to pay [call center employees] for compensable work time which was spent logging onto computers, initializing software applications, and preparing to take and/or making phone calls."
This, the second call center overtime lawsuit filed against Verzion, claims Verizon has "two conflicting policies and practices" in place: First, Verizon refuses to pay call center workers until they take their first phone call at the start of their scheduled shift, but at the same time, the company requires its call center employees to work before their shifts start in order to prepare their computer systems. This second policy is allegedly enforced by penalizing all employees who are not prepared to take their first call with "customer mistreat," "adherence" and "tardy" call center discipline policies. Anyone who is caught preparing their computers while on the clock are at risk for being terminated.
In the Verizon call center lawsuit, workers claim that the additional time they spend preparing their computer systems before and after their scheduled shifts should be performed on the clock because it benefits Verizon and constitutes "hours worked" under California wage and hour laws. Therefore, employees should be paid regular wages and overtime wages under the California Labor Code and other state labor regulations.
If you are—or were-- employed as a call center employee in California and believe that you have not been paid all of the overtime pay, hourly wages, salary and other benefits that you are entitled to, speak with a wage and hour attorney and know your rights. And keep in mind that retaliation is also a violation of the California labor code and a federal labor law violation.
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