Call Center Workers and the FLSA

One of the notable parts of the modern world is that we seem to be constantly dealing with customer service representatives— in trying to buy something over the phone, pay or adjust a bill, trying to get your computer fixed, trying to book a flight, or just trying to get a little information on a company.

It seems like there are call centers, and CSR’s, everywhere in and around Atlanta, and there may be more coming, especially now that Delta has closed its India call centers.

The Fair Labor Standards Act actually has a separate set of rules for call center workers, who are defined as employees who handle telephone calls for their company or on behalf of a client from a central operating facility.

The company’s clients may include mail-order catalog houses, telemarketing companies, computer product help desks, banks, financial services and insurance groups, transportation and freight handling firms, hotels, and information technology (IT) companies.

One of the things that makes call centers different under the rules is the fact that a call center qualifies for FLSA coverage based on income, not on number of employees.

According to a 2008 DOL fact sheet, if the annual dollar volume of a call center’s sales or business is $500,000 or more, and the enterprise has at least two employees, all employees of the enterprise are covered by the FLSA on an “enterprise” basis. An enterprise may consist of one establishment, or it may be made up of multiple establishments.

The FLSA also provides an “individual employee” basis of coverage. If the gross sales or volume of business done does not meet the requisite dollar volume of $500,000 annually, employees may still be covered if they individually engage in interstate commerce, the production of goods for interstate commerce, or in an occupation closely related and directly essential to such production.

Under these rules, some salaried employees may, in fact, be covered under FLSA for both minimum wage and overtime requirements.

One call center pay requirement that may be overlooked is the fact that a CSR has to be paid for all time spent in the act of employment, including time spent booting up the computer, and downloading and reading emails and work instructions.

If you’re a CSR, and you think that you’re not getting paid properly by your employer, the Atlanta employment attorneys at Buckley Bala Wilson Mew LLP can help answer your employment law questions.