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When Employees Changed Policy
Your average working class employee can go their whole life without ever knowing if they made a difference where they had worked. But there was one opportunity that I was able to witness where the employees told the leaders of the company that they have had enough. They wanted to be paid for the time and effort they were putting in to make their company succeed. The ball begin rolling when former coworkers of mine filed an class action lawsuit against Teleperformance for many violations against them due to their labor practices they had in policy.
This lawsuit was filed on May 16th, 2008. It was labeled as Paula Self, Linda Duncan, Sheri Kiddy, Leslie Demull, and Timothy Van Hoose Individually and on behalf of others similarly situated VS. Teleperformance USA, INC., Teleperformance Group, Inc., Teleperformance, a corporation. As you can see this isn’t just a few disgruntle employees getting back at the company that may have been fired from. This complaint spanned over 12 states and included at its peak time over 2000 former and current employees of this company. During the course of this article I will relate some of the charges that are stated in the lawsuit, the efforts Teleperformance took to make it disappear and the justice that the employees felt at the end when they won the lawsuit.
- What Class Action Lawsuits Mean to You
Class action lawsuits are those where a group of plaintiffs join together and file suit against another group entity such as a corporation. Class actions give
The following excerpt is what I received when the lawsuit was opened explaining to me what I was involved in, “On May 16, 2008, a group of current and former Teleperformance employees filed a collective action lawsuit alleging that Teleperformance did not pay employees for overtime and other non-overtime work. These employees hope to recover alleged unpaid wages and overtime wages. The lawsuit by these employees seeks collective and class action treatment, but, as of this time, the Court has not certified a collective or class action. These employees allege and believe that Teleperformance, including CallTech Communications, LLC, a Teleperformance company, unlawfully denied them wages to which they were legally entitled. These employees filled this lawsuit on their own behalf, and also a collective/class action on behalf of other former and current Teleperformance employees.” (Brar, 2008)
When I received this message I whole heartily decided to support this claim. During my tenure with this company it was my job as Mission Control Supervisor (which means I was the one making sure they were getting paid for their work and not if they weren’t obeying the policies) to penalize these agents for the smallest of infractions; If their computers went down I made sure they were logged off. If they needed to go to the bathroom, I made sure they were logged off and so on. It was my job to short these agents as much as I can in following company policy and if the employees had any problems they had to talk to their supervisor. This extra step to get paid for things that you should get paid got frustrating for many employees.
With the complainants reaching 20 points of interests that contradict with the Federal Labor Act, I will take some time to go over some of those points that I personally witnessed Teleperformance looking the other way so they can save a buck. In this lawsuit they characterized the complaints in three categories pre-shift, continuous workday issues and post shift issues.
Within the pre-shift category there is a point that I would like to quote from the lawsuit. This one I saw on a daily and often hourly basis. “Defendant established a system by which the CSRs were considered “late” if the CSRs were not fully logged into the Teleperformance computer system by the official start time of the shift, thus requiring the CSRs to report to work early in order to perform any necessary preliminary activities prior to “being fully logged in.’” (Brar, 2008) This was actually written in their policy and you studied it while you were in training. They were literally telling you to come to work early and not get paid for it while you logged on, with sometimes that logon took 15 to 30 minutes. Strike One.
Stress At Work Could Be Bad
Within the continuous workday issues I would like to quote the point, “The CSRs were given a limited permissible amount of time between customer service calls; for example, 40 seconds (this time was referred to as the “after call work time,” or “ACW time”), and Teleperformance did not pay the CSRs for any “ACW time” that exceeded the prescribed time limit, even though the ACW time occurred during the continuous workday, and even though work-related activities were performed during that time, such as taking notes, talking to supervisors, etc.” (Brar, 2008) During this time was my main responsibility it was my job to log them off the phone if they took more than 40 seconds to get ready for the next call, no matter how hard the previous call was. There were people that I knew that got fired because they occurred to much ACW; that is trying to take notes, reboot a program, or even take a breather between calls. According to the brass they didn’t need more than 40 second’s in between calls no matter what. Strike Two.
The post-shift issues aren’t as extensive as the other two, but still violations of the Labor Act. “Teleperformance established a system whereby the shift officially ended (for purposes of compensation) at the moment the CSRs were no longer actively logged into the Teleperformance computer system, and did not pay the CSRs for necessary work performed after that moment (such as fully closing down the systems, conversations with supervisors, turning in paperwork, etc.).” (Brar, 2008) Through the course of the average day at the call center I would end up having to close the center at night. The call center manager would have agents stay after their shifts to help file paperwork, turn off computers and sometimes vacuum, all with the hope of they will get paid for it. But when it came time for them to get paid for their work the sheet that had “their times” somehow ended up missing. Strike three they are out.
These actions that I witness weren’t just things that were happening just for a few months, they were policies that had been in place for 10 years. Teleperformance willfully disregarded the right to follow any practices of proper labor acts. Because their mentality was who would tell. Well in May of 2008 someone told and the Utah Courts listened.
These agents that filled this lawsuit came to court prepared; they had their times that weren’t paid for, any infractions that were against them all to go to battle with the high price lawyers of Teleperformance. This trial went on for over two years no matter how much evidence these agents came to court with Teleperformance never admitted fault. They filed for a motion to dismiss three times. But they wouldn’t quit, it was their goal to not only get the money they were due but to make sure that no one else wouldn’t have to go through the same thing they did.
The courts finally ruled in their favor on May 28th, 2010 for over 4 million dollars in damages. It wasn’t a number that would cripple a company like this, but it sure made an impact, polices have been changed as far as how agents would get paid. In most centers they have a electronic time clock that the agents use every time they need to do work while not being logged into the phone system. The moral of the centers also are now more positive because Teleperformance forced their managers to go through training on how to handle these new polices that will be put into place.
Even though I will never work for this company again I will always be proud that I was able to see changes like this go through and to be there to see positive things like this happen.