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I have written many times about cases of call centers, which involve allegedly unpaid working time. Well, they keep showing up. In a recent case, a class of workers said they were expected to handle customer calls after their shifts were over, during their breaks, as well as to perform additional tasks outside of their shifts. working hours. The case has the right Amador et al. vs. Kemper Corp., and was filed in federal court in the Northern District of Illinois.

The employees allege that they worked 2 to 3 hours per week of this unpaid time, the complaint alleges, simply, that “Kemper knowingly and willfully failed to compensate the plaintiff and the alleged class members for all the hours worked and the number appropriate overtime each work week on a routine and regular basis during the relevant period. The lead applicant was a customer service representative, whose duties included answering phone calls from policyholders as well as brokers, reviewing their policies / billing history, then processing payments and / or resolving inquiries and customer issues.

Employees allege they were required to be in front of their computers and ready to serve customers from the start of their shift; they claim, however, that it can take half an hour to connect to the computer and access the appropriate programs. They claim in the complaint that there is also a lengthy signing process at the end of the shift or for lunch / coffee breaks. They claim it cuts down on their allotted break time. They also say they had to forgo their lunches or other breaks if the volume of calls was high or threatened to be disciplinary.

The plaintiff also claims that the workers were not compensated for the resolution of allegedly frequent computer and equipment problems. The principal plaintiff also alleges that employees were prohibited from hanging up on the hook and had to end every call, even if a call took them past their assigned end time, after which they had to complete the shutdown process, which was also time consuming. As the complaint states, “Regardless of the length of the calls, the requester and the putative group members were ordered to clock in at the end of their shift before completing the after-call notes that needed to be entered. , then perform a long shutdown process. “

Takeaway meals

These cases of working time can creep up on an employer and it is sometimes difficult to determine whether the preliminary or post-preliminary activities are compensable. Employers should be aware, however, that if they demand or compel employees, either explicitly or implicitly, to show up early in order to be “ready” when their shift actually begins, this is a recipe for disaster. Bring in the workers, but pay them for the time.

Or pay them later, in court …

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