Reports have surfaced that West Corporation and its West Business Solutions and West Asset Management call center divisions may be unlawfully withholding compensation from customer service workers in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act.

The problem is not new. In July 2008, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division issued Fact Sheet #64, in which it alerted call center employees of certain abuses prevalent in the industry. In particular, the publication specifically condemns call center employer’s practice of not paying workers for the necessary job-related activities performed before and after their shifts:

In general, “hours worked” includes all time an employee must be on duty, or on the employer’s premises or at any other prescribed place of work, from the beginning of the first principal activity of the workday to the end of the last principal activity of the workday. Also included is any additional time the employee is allowed (i.e., suffered or permitted) to work. An example of the first principal activity of the day for agents/specialists/representatives working in call centers includes starting the computer to download work instructions, computer applications, and work-related emails.

According to the Fact Sheet, call center agents, specialists, and representatives working must be paid for “principal activities” such as:

  • Starting the computer to download work instructions
  • Booting up computer applications
  • Shutting down a computer and other systems
  • Reading work-related emails

Attorneys from the law firm of Sommers Schwartz, P.C. are investigating reports they received that West Corporation unlawfully withheld overtime pay in violation of wage and hour provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and various state laws. As proscribed by the Department of Labor Fact Sheet, customer service representatives allege that the company did not pay them for activities they were required to perform as part of their jobs. These claims are similar to allegations made in class action lawsuits brought by the firm on behalf of call center workers employed by Express Scripts, Convergys Corp., and others.

Sommers Schwartz attorneys are now interviewing current and former West Corporation, West Business Solutions, and West Asset Management customer service employees from across the country to determine if their rights were violated and if they may be owed unpaid wages. If you were employed by the company in the U.S. at any time in the past three years as a customer service representative, please contact us today to discuss your right to compensation.