To cut costs, many call center companies now employ agents to work from home. While this practice is perfectly legitimate, those telecommuting employees must still be paid at least the minimum wage, as well as overtime. This is mandated by the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Unfortunately, some call centers and business process outsourcing companies are guilty of withholding wages and overtime pay from home-based telephone agents and representatives.
Employers often fail to pay their home-based telephone agents the required overtime wages. These employees often work before and after their shifts, causing them to work over forty (40) hours in one workweek. Employers are in violation of the law for not compensating these required “off the clock” tasks. This work can include time spent:
- Booting up computers, connecting to networks, and logging in and out systems and programs
- Making notes and completing paperwork before or after calls have been completed
- Reading company memos and updates
- Attending meetings and required training programs
- Working through lunch breaks
In general, “hours worked” includes all time an employee must be on duty, including starting the computer to download work instructions, computer applications, and work-related emails. 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 making notes or performing other computer work in between calls, you could have a claim for unpaid overtime. You should consult with an attorney knowledgeable about wage and hour laws as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.
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