Lawsuit Alleges Verizon Connect Owes Inside Sales Reps Wages for Off-the-Clock, Overtime Work
by Erin Shaak
Bates et al. v. Verizon Connect Fleet USA LLC et al.
Filed: November 14, 2021 ◆§ 1:21-cv-04697
A class action claims Verizon Connect has required inside sales reps to work significant amounts of hours off the clock and without being properly paid.
A proposed class action claims Verizon Connect has required inside sales representatives to work significant amounts of hours off the clock and without being properly paid for the time.
The case more specifically alleges defendants Verizon Connect Fleet USA LLC and Verizon Connect Inc. have typically paid workers for only 40 hours per week no matter how much time they actually put in, and deducted an hour of pay each day for a lunch break despite being aware that employees often worked off the clock and through their scheduled breaks.
The lawsuit says the apparent labor law violations at issue were the subject of a previous lawsuit against Fleetmatics USA, who was purchased by Verizon for $2.4 billion in 2016. According to the suit, the defendants, after purchasing Fleetmatics, continued to operate the same alleged “scheme” in an effort to avoid paying overtime wages and “save millions of dollars in labor costs.”
“Thereafter, it was business as usual,” the complaint alleges, “and Defendants continued with a scheme to avoid paying overtime wages to all its ISR nationally, and thus save and steal millions of dollars of wages owed to 1000 or more employees.”
The lawsuit says Verizon Connect’s inside sales representatives are hourly, non-exempt employees tasked with selling to fleet operators and other businesses the company’s internet-based system that offers real-time tracking, route optimization, job dispatch and fuel usage monitoring services. Per the complaint, the employees have essentially the same duties despite working under various titles, including business development representative, business development manager, account manager, account executive, closer, consultant, fleet manager, development manager, associate sales partner, sales partner, sales specialist and other similar job titles.
According to the case, the defendants have failed to implement an accurate method with which to track employees’ work hours, which the suit says “could have helped minimize some of the problems here.” The lawsuit alleges Verizon Connect and its managers have turned a blind eye to the significant amounts of off-the-clock work put in by inside sales reps, including when they worked through their meal breaks, and instead instructed and permitted employees to report only 40 hours of weekly work while “pressuring, coercing, intimidating and encouraging Inside Sales Representatives to work as many hours as necessary to hit their quotas, metrics and production goals.”
The suit claims workers’ regular schedules included nine hours of work per day, with a one-hour meal break automatically deducted from their time regardless of whether they actually took an uninterrupted break. Nevertheless, inside sales reps usually put in significant amounts of overtime hours, especially toward the end of the month when they were pressured to meet sales goals, the lawsuit alleges.
According to the case, the defendants have “maintained a culture and environment of discouraging and intimidating” workers from reporting overtime hours in that doing so would subject an employee to “a high level of scrutiny” and “the ire of management.”
The lawsuit alleges Verizon Connect “absolutely knew and knows today” that inside sales reps routinely put in off-the-clock overtime hours and work through meal breaks yet has failed to pay them in accordance with federal and state labor laws.
“Plaintiff, and the class of similarly situated employees, did not and currently do not perform work that meets the definition of any exemption under the [federal Fair Labor Standards Act] or the [North Carolina] and [Illinois] wage laws, and the Defendants’ pay practices are not only clearly unlawful, but UNFAIR as well.”
The full complaint can be read below.
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