Three former Comcast workers claim the telecommunications giant and Prince Telecom, LLC have failed to pay proper wages, provide meal breaks and reimburse them for business expenses.
According to the 44-page lawsuit, the plaintiffs worked as technicians for Prince Telecom, an installation service provider who installs equipment on behalf of Comcast. Comcast, the suit says, assigns work to Prince Telecom, who in turn assigns work to technicians.
The case alleges the defendants have violated federal and state wage and hour laws by failing to pay technicians for off-the-clock work, record every hour they worked, provide duty-free meal periods, and reimburse the techs for business expenses.
“Defendants’ method of paying Plaintiffs and Class Members was willful and was not based on a good-faith and reasonable belief that their conduct complied with either the [Fair Labor Standards Act], Pennsylvania, or Massachusetts law,” the complaint alleges. “To the contrary, Defendants’ formulated their method of paying Plaintiffs and Class Members in order to avoid liability under the governing wage-and-hour laws.”
Technicians are primarily responsible for installing and troubleshooting cable TV, internet and telephone equipment; attempting to address problems reported by customers; driving company vehicles between their homes, the warehouse, the office and work locations; cleaning, maintaining and stocking vehicles and equipment; and educating customers, the lawsuit explains. Per the case, the plaintiffs typically put in between 60 and 78 hours per week.
The lawsuit claims technicians frequently engaged in pre- and post-shift work for which they were not properly paid, including time spent gathering equipment before their shifts began and performing work-related tasks after clocking out. The workers were paid on a piece-rate basis, the suit says, and were assigned between five and 10 jobs per day, each of which was assigned a corresponding code with a set dollar amount.
The case alleges, however, that the defendants frequently deleted certain codes from workers’ records or changed code entries to lower-paying codes. Moreover, technicians were often “pressure[d]” into not submitting codes for some of their completed tasks, the suit attests.
“Defendants systemically pressure Technicians to underreport their hours to give the appearance of greater productivity and as a way to increase their regular hourly rates,” the complaint charges.
Per the case, the workers’ unreported hours and off-the-clock work have caused them to accrue “substantial” unpaid hours, including overtime.
The lawsuit goes on to allege that due to technicians’ “overwhelming workload and Defendants’ constant pressure to complete all daily job assignments,” the workers are “systematically denied” opportunities to take bona fide meal breaks. Comcast and Prince Telecom, however, routinely deduct 30-minute unpaid meal breaks from workers’ hours regardless of whether they are actually able to take a break, according to the suit.
The plaintiffs further allege that the defendants require technicians to purchase necessary tools and equipment, such as wireless drills, drill bits, pliers, wrenches, screwdrivers, torches, staple guns, meters, crimpers, strippers, boots and helmets, without reimbursing them for these work-related expenses. Moreover, the defendants have failed to reimburse the workers for the costs of required uniforms and gasoline and unlawfully deducted from their compensation the costs of other expenses incurred in the performance of their work duties, the suit alleges.
Per the case, the defendants “derive a financial profit or benefit” from these deductions, which, the suit says, have further reduced technicians’ wages.
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