A new lawsuit alleges Empyrean Benefit Solutions Inc. has withheld wages and overtime pay from customer service agents in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The class action accuses the company of failing to pay call center representatives who work from home and at Empyrean’s facilities in Houston, Minneapolis, and Nashville for required off-the-clock tasks.

The FLSA entitles hourly employees to the right to compensation for all job-related work. Empyrean call center agents and representatives claim they were denied wages and overtime for necessary activities such as starting their computers, logging into phone systems and networks, and waiting for IT staff to address technical difficulties when the company’s servers went down.

Sommers Schwartz’s Wage and Hour Litigation Group holds employers accountable for wage theft and abuse in call centers and other workplaces across the country. We’ve recovered millions of dollars in unpaid compensation for customer service representatives, associates, agents, account managers, telemarketers, customer advocates, technical support workers, and other hourly employees. After filing the class action against Empyrean, we are interviewing similarly situated employees who fell victim to unfair pay practices while working at home or onsite at Empyrean call centers.

Understanding Wage and Overtime Pay Violations in Call Centers

State and federal employment laws require that call center workers be paid for all hours worked, including all “principal activities” before, during, and after an employee’s scheduled shift.

Call center representatives must be ready to assist customers at the beginning of their workdays but frequently have several computer programs to initiate before placing or receiving calls. It also takes time to close applications and shut down computers at the end of the workday, but many call center companies don’t pay workers for that time.

Despite their refusal or unwillingness to pay, employers must compensate employees for time spent 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.

The lost income can be significant, sometimes up to 30 minutes each workday – time that often triggers overtime pay calculated at one-and-a-half times regular hourly pay rates.

Call Center Employment Trends

Call centers and contact-centers employ millions of workers. Over 2.8 million people in the U.S. were employed 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.

If you worked for Empyrean Benefit Solutions as an at-home or onsite call center representative and believe you have been a victim of wage theft and abuse, contact Sommers Schwartz for a free consultation. We will discuss your rights and how we can help you recover the unpaid wages and overtime to which you are entitled.

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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.