Reports have surfaced that Cigna fails to pay its call center representatives wages and overtime for required off-the-clock work. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), employees have a right to be paid for all work-related tasks. Employers who illegally withhold pay can be required to compensate employees for unpaid wages and overtime.

Cigna is a worldwide health insurance corporation with 22 U.S. service centers. Like other workers, many Cigna call center employees worked remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Reports indicate that at-home call center agents and representatives haven’t been paid for the tasks they must perform for their jobs, such as booting up computers, logging onto phone systems, and waiting offline for technical difficulties when they are disconnected from Cigna’s servers.

The attorneys in Sommers Schwartz’s Wage and Hour Litigation Group have fought against wage theft on behalf of call center employees across the country. We’ve helped customer service representatives, associates, agents, account managers, customer advocates, and other call and contact center hourly employees recover unpaid wages and overtime pay. If the allegations prove true, we intend to hold Cigna accountable in a class-action lawsuit for failing to pay its employees for all work performed.

Routine Wage Violations in Call Centers

The FLSA requires employers to pay call center workers for all hours worked. An employee must be paid for performing all “principal activities,” even if those tasks occur outside the worker’s scheduled shift.

Call center representatives are expected to be ready to assist customers at the start of their shifts, which requires them to have several programs booted up before they can place or receive their first calls.

Employers must pay employees for time performing work-related tasks, including:

  • Booting up and shutting down computers.
  • Downloading work instructions.
  • Signing in to timekeeping and other work-related applications.
  • Reading and responding to work-related emails.
  • Logging onto phone systems.
  • Troubleshooting technical problems and communicating with IT specialists.

Employers violate the FLSA when they fail to pay regular or overtime wages for these tasks, which can take up to 30 minutes. Unfortunately, wage theft is rampant in the call center industry due to these and other violations.

Call Center Employment Trends

Call center and contact-center employment are on the rise. Roughly 2.83 million people in the U.S. were working in call or contact centers in 2020. Workers at call centers generally communicate with customers using only inbound and outbound phone communication, while contact center employees use increasingly popular channels such as live chats, chatbots, social media, or text.

Older business models involved large brick-and-mortar call centers, but the COVID-19 pandemic shifted many customer service representatives and agents to remote work. And at-home call-center representatives were up to the task. A recent J.D. Power study found that 92% of the companies surveyed had the same or increased customer service experience scores during the pandemic. The majority of call centers in the study (86%) indicated they expected to continue the remote work model indefinitely.

If you are a Cigna at-home call center employee and have not been paid for work-related tasks, contact Sommers Schwartz to learn more about your rights and how we can help you recover compensation for unpaid wages and overtime.

Jesse Young

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Jesse Young

Jesse Young represents clients in serious employment disputes, such as severance negotiations, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing activity, employment contracts, terminations, and compliance. In addition, he has appeared in hundreds of wage-and-hour lawsuits and hundreds more arbitrations arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act and similar state laws.