Are Call Center Employees Entitled to Overtime Pay?

Call center employees are often required to work more than forty hours per week. Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, employers are required to pay most workers one and a half times their regular rate of pay for each hour worked in excess of forty in any given week. There are exceptions to this general rule – for more information regarding common overtime exemptions, click here. However, call center employees will typically not fall within any of the FLSA’s overtime exemptions, and thus are generally entitled to overtime pay. If their employer refuses to pay overtime wages, a call center employee can file an unpaid overtime lawsuit, and can recover two years worth of overtime pay (or three, if the violation was willful), as well as liquidated damages equal to the amount of unpaid overtime, and attorney’s fees.

Common overtime violations in the call center industry include classifying the workers as independent contractors and paying them straight time (i.e. the same hourly rate for every hour worked, even those over 40 in a week), and failing to pay them for their time spent booting up their computers and logging into various programs before their shift begins.

Many lawsuits have been filed in recent years by call center employees for unpaid overtime. In 2011, a collective action was filed in the Eastern District of Texas on behalf of current and former employees of Convergys Corp., alleging that the defendant to pay overtime to thousands of telephone-dedicated employees who performed work for the company both before and after their assigned work shifts. The suit further alleged that the defendant’s policy was to pay its contact center agents only for the time that they were logged into their phone systems and available for answering calls, resulting in the call center employees being shorted hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid overtime. In 2005, Countrywide Home Loans, Inc. agreed to pay $30 million to settle the claims of approximately 400 call center employees.  Countrywide also agreed to reclassify its California call center account executives as non-exempt from state and federal overtime laws. And in 2019, CVS Caremark agreed to pay $15.25 million to settle a lawsuit alleging it denied overtime pay to customer service agents at its call centers.

If you work at a call center and your employer has a policy of only paying you for time spent talking with customers, or if your employer refuses to count time you spend: (1) starting or shutting down your computer; (2) logging into or out of various programs; (3) making notes or (4) checking emails or performing other computer work in between calls, you could have a claim for unpaid overtime. You should consult with an unpaid overtime attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.

About Texas Attorney Josh Borsellino: I am a Texas attorney with an office in Fort Worth.  I accept unpaid overtime cases in Fort Worth, Dallas, Arlington, Cleburne, Midland, Abilene, Odessa, Amarillo, Waco, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, and across Texas.  If you have questions regarding unpaid overtime, call me at 817.908.9861 or complete my online form. There is no charge for an initial consultation regarding your overtime pay questions. My law firm handles overtime cases on a contingency fee basis, which means you do not have to pay me any money unless and until there is a recovery against your employer.

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