In a class action lawsuit recently filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, customer services reps employed by Dialog Direct, Inc. (acquired by Allegra Direct Communications, Inc.) accuses them of withholding overtime pay for “off the clock” work. Additional investigation has revealed that Brian Unlimited Distribution Company (Budco), DMI GC Holdings, LLC (formerly known as Dialog Marketing, Inc.), GC Allegra, and NOVO 1, Inc. may also be involved.
- Failing to compensate the plaintiffs for time spent starting up and logging into various computer programs, servers, and applications in company information and software before beginning their work shifts – an average of five to 15 minutes each day, or longer if the reps experienced technical issues
- Requiring the plaintiffs to work during unpaid meal breaks, usually ten to 15 minutes each day
- Forcing the plaintiffs to clock out prior to logging out of the company’s computer programs, another five to 15 minutes daily
This unpaid time regularly pushed the plaintiffs’ work time beyond 40 hours per work, for which they should have been paid overtime wages.
Wage abuse in the call center industry is all too common, and the subject of scrutiny by the Wage & Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor. The agency published a fact sheet to educate call center employees of ways in which employers can violate the law and commit wage abuse. In particular, the fact sheet identifies the unlawful practice of withholding compensation from employees for necessary job-related tasks 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.
The class of plaintiffs in this case is expected to grow as similarly situated employees come forward and participate in the lawsuit. If you worked as a customer service representative for Dialog Direct (later Allegra Direct Communications) and suspect that you were denied your hard-earned pay, please contact us today to discuss your right to compensation.