In another win for call center representatives, a federal court ruled that American Future Systems Inc., and its owner, Edward Satell, violated the Fair Labor Standards Act for failing to pay telemarketing employees for short break periods. The decision could result in back pay and liquidated damages of $1.75 million for the 6,000 unpaid workers.
According to Law360 (subscription required), the telemarketers were employed in 14 call centers located in Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New Jersey, and claimed that they were required to go off the clock any time they were not making calls, taking breaks of just a few minutes to stretch, going the restroom, or getting a drink of water.
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) filed the action on their behalf, and alleged that
American Future Systems Inc. (operating as Progressive Business Solutions) purposefully implemented the policy, which sometimes caused employees’ wages to drop below the federal minimum wage. DOL representatives previously warned the company in 2011 that its pay practices ran afoul of the federal labor laws, but filed the now-resolved lawsuit in 2012.
The attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Employment Litigation Group have represented thousands of workers who have fallen victim to wage theft. If you suspect your employer has wrongfully withheld your wages or overtime pay, please contact us today – we can help.