Call centers frequently violate the FLSA by failing to pay their workers overtime or minimum wages. A recent federal case in Nevada illustrates some of the issues call center employees face when it comes to overtime pay. In Acosta v. Wellfleet, the Plaintiff filed suit against Wellfleet Communications, LLC and several other entities. The Plaintiff alleged violations of the FLSA by paying employees less than the federal minimum wage, making illegal deductions from employees’ Social Security and Medicare contributions, failing to pay employees for hours worked over forty in a workweek, failing to maintain time records of employees, and interfering with Plaintiff’s investigation.
In a motion for summary judgment, the defendants argued that the call center workers were not “employees” for the purposes of the FLSA, and thus were owed no overtime. The defendants argued that the workers were “direct seller” as defined by the IRS code, and thus were not employees under the FLSA. The court rejected the defendants’ argument, finding that the Internal Revenue Service Code “does not provide an exception to the FLSA’s definition of ‘employee.’” Because IRC § 3508 does not provide an exception, the Court then addressed whether Defendants’ call center workers are “employees” under the FLSA. The Court found that the workers were employees, and thus were entitled to the FLSA’s protections. The Court next found that defendants willfully violated the FLSA, citing evidence that Wellfleet received roughly ten to twelve notices of violations every year from 2010 until 2017 by the Nevada State Labor Commissioner on paying minimum wage to its call center workers. The Court also found that liquidated damages were appropriate. The Court also found that two of the owners of defendants were individually liable for the FLSA violations. The Court subsequently awarded $1,457,989.54 in damages against defendants. Defendants are appealing the judgement of the court.
About the author: Josh Borsellino is a Texas attorney that represents workers suing for unpaid overtime. For a free evaluation of your overtime pay matter, call Josh at 817.908.9861 or complete this form.