A former Santander Consumer USA worker claims in a proposed collective action that call center employees were not paid for the time they spent working before and after each shift, or “off the clock.”
The plaintiff, who was employed as a telephone-dedicated customer service representative at the finance company’s Mesa, Arizona call center, says she and similarly situated workers were expected to be ready to handle a call at the start of each shift and continue taking calls until their shifts ended.
As a result, however, Santander workers frequently spent time before their shifts booting up computers, opening various software programs and reading work emails to prepare for the day’s calls—all before clocking in, the suit claims. Similarly, employees regularly worked past their scheduled shift end times to complete calls, close software programs and secure confidential information, the case relays.
Per the complaint, call center employees were not paid for any of this work performed before or after their scheduled shift times, nor for work performed during break periods. The plaintiff estimates she spent roughly 20 minutes per day on unpaid work activities.
According to the suit, although Santander was well aware that its call center employees were working off the clock, the defendant “required, permitted and/or allowed” the workers to do so without providing due compensation.
The “net effect” of the defendant’s pay practices, the case alleges, is that employees were not paid proper overtime wages for the time they spent working in excess of 40 hours each week.
“Defendant’s policy and practice of requiring its employees to perform work without pay in many instances has caused and continues to cause Plaintiff and certain other similarly situated hourly employees to work in excess of forty hours per week, without being properly compensated at a wage of 1.5 times their respective hourly rate for such work performed, as required by Section 7 of the [Fair Labor Standards Act],” the complaint claims.
According to the suit, Santander has thus “enjoyed ill-gained profits” at the expense of hourly call center employees.
The lawsuit, filed on September 16, looks to represent anyone who, within the past three years, worked for Santander as an hourly paid telephone-dedicated employee at the defendant’s call centers and did not receive the full amount of overtime wages they were owed.
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