Call centers are big business. Unfortunately, for many call center representatives and agents, some employers profit by engaging in wage theft, depriving hourly workers of all the compensation they’ve earned.
Identifying Call Center Wage and Overtime Violations
In the U.S., nearly 25,000 companies employ 486,000 people to generate annual revenues of $23 billion. Even with the rising use of technology and artificial intelligence, the industry is expected to grow five percent annually through 2026.
Although industry revenues, profitability, and growth are positive, call center wage abuses are far too frequent. In fact, wage and hour violations are so common that ten years ago the U.S. Department of Labor issued an alert to warn people employed as customer service agents, customer support agents, service center associates, telephone sales representatives, remote agents, and other job titles about various forms of wage theft:
- Failing to pay for “off the clock” work, such as logging into computers and applications before their shifts begin, and logging out after their shifts end;
- Failing to pay for time spent addressing technical issues when computer systems are down;
- Requiring employees to work through meal breaks and rest periods;
- Failing to maintain accurate pay records;
- Failing to pay overtime or forcing workers to reduce reported hours to avoid paying overtime; or
- Misclassifying workers as exempt or as independent contractors to avoid paying overtime.
Fear of Retaliation
While call center employees may be subject to these kinds of illegal pay practices, many don’t report wage and overtime violations for fear that their employers will retaliate against them.
Lodging a complaint with a human resources department or a government agency can be intimidating. Some call centers pay only minimum wage, and workers don’t want to risk their jobs or jeopardize their incomes by blowing the whistle on their employers.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act and state laws prohibit this kind of retaliation, making it safe for whistleblowers to come forward and speak up.
Class Action Against Call Center Companies
Because unlawful pray practices at a call center impact groups of hourly workers, a class action that includes all similarly situated employees is often the most efficient and cost-effective way to bring a lawsuit for back pay and unpaid wages and overtime.
A quick Google search offers numerous examples of class actions to recover damages from outsourced or in-house call centers in a range of verticals:
- Accredited Debt Relief
- Delta Airlines
- Hilton Worldwide
- Hyatt Corporation
- Kaiser Foundation Hospitals
- Northshore University Health System
- Permanente Medical Group
- Sutherland Global Services, Inc.
- Sykes Enterprises
- West Business Solutions
The employment attorneys at Sommers Schwartz, P.C. investigate allegations of wage theft at remote and on-site call centers across the country to determine whether workers’ rights are being violated, and bring class action litigation against employers to recover unpaid wages and overtime for call center workers.
If you believe you are a victim of wage abuse, please contact us today discuss your situation and your right to potential damages.