Call centers (central, telephone-based customer service operations) are frequent violators of minimum wage and overtime laws. The U.S. Department of Labor has produced a helpful factsheet summarizing the wage and hour laws that apply to call centers. Call centers commonly violate the law by: (1) not paying their employees at least minimum wage for all hours worked; (2) not keeping records of all hours worked by their employees; (3) requiring employees to work uncompensated time "off the clock," such as pre-shift time spent logging into the computer and preparing for calls at the beginning of the employee's shift; (4) failing to compensate employees who work through part or all of their unpaid lunch period; and/or (5) not paying their employees proper overtime wages.
In early July, a federal judge in Missouri granted class certification to a group of Moberly, Missouri call center employees suing their employer, Scholastic Book Clubs, Inc. The call center employees allege that Scholastic was engaged in many of the unlawful pay practices highlighted by the Department of Labor's factsheet. For instance, the employees claim that Scholastic did not pay them for "off the clock" time they spent reading emails and logging into their computers before their shifts officially began. Additionally, the employees claim that Scholastic improperly computed their overtime wage rates, leaving out of the calculation the non-discretionary bonuses they received for perfect attendance, which reduced their pay below the legally required level.
Other Missouri call center employees employed by Enterprise Holdings (formerly Enterprise Rent-A-Car) have recently sued to recover unpaid wages allegedly owed by their employers.
If you work at a call center and believe you may be a victim of unlawful pay practices, or if you simply want to better understand your rights, you should contact a St. Louis overtime attorney.