In October 2016, two Auto Club Group (AAA) call center workers filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan alleging that their employer’s pay practices did not comply with the Fair Labor Standards Act.
Specifically, the lawsuit claims that call center workers are “trained and instructed” or otherwise “permitted” to perform off-the-clock work tasks related to starting up and shutting down computers, networks, and programs used for their job. The lawsuit made detailed allegations regarding AAA’s pay practices, including their use of programs such as PeopleSoft and I-3, which resulted in call center workers not being paid for all hours worked.
Wage theft and abuse in the call center industry is common, prompting the U.S. Department of Labor to issue an alert to warn of unlawful pay practices including the failure to compensate employees for “principal activities” such as:
- Booting up computers, logging into applications, and downloading work instructions before beginning their shifts;
- Waiting on hold with technical support when disconnected from computer systems and networks;
- Shutting down applications and computers after ending their shifts; and
- Reading work-related emails before and after their shifts.
The time it takes to complete these tasks can be substantial, up to several minutes each day, and can push employees’ workweeks beyond 40 hours. Under the FLSA, that overtime must be compensated at one and one-half times their regular hourly rate.
The attorneys in Sommers Schwartz Employment Litigation Group are now interviewing individuals who worked for AAA as telephone-based agents, representatives, and specialists responsible for customer care, technical support, help desk, product support, and billing care about their concerns over possible wage and overtime violations. If AAA employed you in any of these capacities or if you have information to share, please contact us today!