Verizon Connect Facing Another Lawsuit Over Allegedly Unpaid Overtime Wages
Ramirez et al. v. Verizon Connect Fleet USA, LLC et al.
Filed: January 23, 2023 ◆§ 1:23-cv-00343-MLB
Verizon Connect Fleet USA and Verizon Connect, Inc. have been hit with a collective action that alleges the companies have “willfully” failed to track employee hours and pay proper overtime wages to certain workers.
Verizon Connect Fleet USA, LLC, and Verizon Connect, Inc. have been hit with a proposed collective action that alleges the companies have “willfully” failed to track employee hours and pay proper overtime wages to certain non-exempt workers.
The 40-page lawsuit claims more specifically that the companies have failed to compensate all inside sales representatives (ISRs) for overtime work—i.e., hours worked over 40 in a workweek—in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and amid a “scheme” to save millions in labor costs.
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According to the suit, the companies purportedly pressured ISRs to hit performance goals and quotas or face disciplinary action, including the possibility of termination, and bullied their employees into not reporting accurate overtime hours.
“The Defendants intentionally created a work environment and culture that was oppressive, [and] laced with fear and intimidation against reporting overtime hours and complaining about not being paid for all overtime hours, as doing so would draw the ire and scrutiny of management,” the case reads.
While the defendants have an existing electronic system for tracking hours, the companies did not provide an accurate method with which hourly employees could properly clock in and out and record their exact work hours and breaks, the complaint says. Per the suit, the defendants’ time sheets are pre-populated with eight hours per day and 40 hours per week and do not provide a place for ISRs to report their actual break times. Regardless of whether an employee takes a full one-hour break or works through it, the companies automatically deduct one hour for this mandatory break and instruct ISRs to “claim and report ONLY eight (8) hours in total if they worked the full shift of nine (9) hours,” the lawsuit relays.
“Defendants have turned a ‘blind eye’ to all of the off the clock work for numerous reasons including reduced labor costs and increased profits, 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 charges.
Further, the companies did not discourage or prevent workers from starting early or staying late, and were fully aware that employees “routinely” worked through some, if not all, of the one-hour breaks, the filing says.
Even after lawsuits involving the companies in 2016 and 2022 ended in the settlement of unpaid overtime wages, the defendants have continued 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 complaint contends.
The plaintiffs have worked as ISRs in some capacity in the defendants’ Tampa, Florida office since December 2018 and September 2019 and claim their actual work time has regularly exceeded the 40 hours per week pre-populated into their time sheets without receiving any overtime pay, the filing relays.
The ISR position refers to Verizon job titles that include, but are not limited to, account executive, account manager, business development representative, closer, associate sales partner, sales partner, specialist, business development consultant, national account manager, regional account executive, fleet manager, senior business developer, business developer, business coordinator, and specialist solutions consultant, the suit says.
The lawsuit looks to represent anyone in the U.S. currently or formerly employed by Verizon Connect Fleet USA, LLC or Verizon Connect, Inc. since January 23, 2020 and who is/was working as an inside sales representative under the title of account executive, account manager, consultant, business development representative, closer, associate sales partner, sales partner, inside sales representative, team leader, pod leader, or any other non-exempt position.
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