Customer service representatives at call centers are frequently required by their employers to spend time to boot up or log onto their computers as well as obtain access to various software programs and databases. All of these pre-shift activities are work and call centers must pay their customer call service representatives for such work. It is a violation of federal and state law for call centers to refuse to pay their employees for time spent performing these duties.
Employees often wrongly assume that they cannot bring a lawsuit because of an employer’s written policy that purports to prohibit off-the-clock work. However, courts routinely recognize that these written policies drafted by an employer’s attorneys do not prevent an employee from bringing lawsuits seeking recovery of unpaid wages including overtime pay. See Sharpe v. APAC Customer Servs, 2010 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 1671, *14-15 (W.D. Wis. Jan. 8, 2010); Burch v. Qwest Communs, Int’l, Inc., 677 F. Supp. 2d 1101, 1115 (D. Minn. 2009); Wilks v. Pep Boys, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 69537 (M.D. Tenn. Sept. 26, 2006). In fact, a federal Department of Labor Regulation is directly on point: “In all such cases it is the duty of the management to exercise its control and see that the work is not performed if it does not want it to be performed. It cannot sit back and accept the benefits without compensating for them. The mere promulgation of a rule against such work is not enough. Management has the power to enforce the rule and must make every effort to do so.” 29 C.F.R. § 785.13.
Winebrake & Santillo represents customer service representatives seeking the recovery of such unpaid wages. For example, in a prior lawsuit filed by Winebrake & Santillo, our law firm reached a settlement for over $200,000 against a call center located in Pennsylvania.