Dell hit by class action over unpaid overtime
US call centre workers can team up
Dell is facing a class action case from 5,000 call centre staff in the US who claim the computer giant has underpaid them since 2004.
An Oregon judge - the delightfully-named Thomas Coffin - has certified the case for class action status, which means that most of Dell's US call centre staff from 8 February 2004 to the present day can join in. It covers consumer call centres in Oregon, Central Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma and Idaho.
The case was originally brought last year by two staff from the Oregon centre, David Norman and Walter Romas, both of Roseburg, Oregon. Since then more than 80 people have joined the case, but potentially some 5,000 former and current staff could be due compensation.
This is the nub of their complaint against Dell:
Dell consistently violates federal and state wage and hour laws by failing to record accurately all time worked and failing to pay earned wages and overtime. Examples of the unlawful practices claimed include: (1) requiring employees to work "off the clock" by not paying for work performed pre-shift, post-shift, and over unpaid meal breaks; (2) utilizing an inherently inaccurate time-keeping system called "Kronos;" and (3) improperly calculating overtime using a "half-time" overtime rate.
And here is a strident quote from Plaintiff's lawyer Derek Johnson: "Paying employees for all the time they work is not a novel or controversial concept. It is time for Dell to comply with the law."
Dell faces a similar lawsuit from workers at its business support call centre.
More from the Austin American-Statesman here. ®
At a Chicago company it was no unusual for me to work 100 hour work weeks and NO OT. I can also sympathize with Dell people.BTW I was laid off from the same company because I made the other people look bad because I put in so much OT.
In the end I was glad as I got out and the people who got rid of me ended up getting fired (or laid off). I got a nice severance package but not even close payment for all the OT. I was taken to the cleaners.
Oh yes in a right to work state you cannot dispute for getting fired unless its race or similar issue related I believe, so Dell could have sacked the people that did not work OT and really did not have to worry about it.
Out at Five
I always used to leave pretty much at 5pm on the dot to make the point. Occasional late days are OK, but it has never been the norm. Now it's a bit more fuzzy, in that some days it's as late as 5:30pm, but then I sort of make up for that by making arrival time fuzzy to compensate. The time from when I get home to my son's bed time is family time, the reason I usually give for the prompt departure, although I have been known to sit down and telework in the evenings after that time (it's usually more interesting than the TV and a lot more efficient than daytime work because there are no interruptions).
I did once work for a company that had a general policy that flying to North America from the UK should be done on Saturday because they saved money on flights compared to flying on Sunday (airline fares were cheaper if the stay included Saturday night). I just told my boss that I'd fly on Sunday for no extra charge but if I had to give up the whole weekend then I'd have two days off in lieu when I got back from the trip. I never had to fly out on a Saturday...
How it "could" work.
This completely fictional and no one should read this.
Kronos is the application that hourly people use to log their time. The current version "protects" you from putting in too many hours.
If you do put in "too many hours" some how then the payroll admins remove it from your paycheck without telling anyone.
Its upto you to pay attention to your check and ask questions about why it was done.
Alternativly if the application doesnt allow you to put in your hours because they span days they do not have a process to allow you to get the time on your check that pay period.
You have to wait till your check is issued then submit a payroll correction. In all of these instances anyone you talk to in payroll has no idea how the application works on how it calculates time for employees. These are the people to change your paycheck with absolutly no oversight. They dont have to email anyone call anyone or document anywhere that they did it. Your manager even has no idea.
I have seen it take over 6 months to get a payroll correction completed because every time you call the payroll line they never give you their name or contact information and if you somehow do get it they complain to your manager. No one is held accountable and the software was broken purposely in order to keep people from putting "too much time" on their time card even if they work it. NICE.......
But what has the fear given you? No payrise, no chance to be with your family and no option of finding a new job that won't buttfuck you.
Now if you'd not done overtime, you'd have had more time with your family. If necessary you could have taken another part-time job for a short while to tide over life's little problems.
If you'd not done overtime and they looked ready to kick you out, you've got plenty of time to look for another job before they get around to finding out a way to sack you that won't entitle you to any severance pay.
One reason I've not been in your situation is because I've not let that situation start.
I have had to work late for weeks but I've then taken time off and it's only ever been for what I can see is a short-term need. Just because management screwed up doesn't make it my problem. I'll work to fix the problem, but only so far as it looks like either I'll get paid for it, or I'm not being used.
Careful work and the idea that I should always spend LESS than I'm earning means that now my mortgage is low and I have freedom to accept work on conditions I find equitable.
Unpaid overtime, in the US, falls into two categories: Legal and illegal.
The way the current labor laws work, (and have worked for a while) those call center employees are, to the best of my knowledge, eligible for overtime compensation. Oh, and requiring prior authorization doesn't necessarily mean they don't have to pay you, especially if that was not communicated to you before you put in the overtime, it just means that if you do it after being told about needing that authorization, you can face disciplinary action. Of course, that depends on the country/state/etc you're in.
@Doug Glass: I understand what you went through. I turned down offers from a couple companies I was pretty sure would do that to me. Technically, my current company could, (oh, the joys of being "Exempt") but they seem to have a pretty significant focus on keeping employees happy and productive, part of which is setting realistic goals. It's my responsibility to get those goals accomplished on time, and if I don't, then I need to work overtime or it'll show up on my performance reviews that I didn't get all my work done. That simple.
Posting anon because I should be working on one of those projects right now, but can't seem to motivate myself enough.