HOUSTON — A group of call center workers have settled their overtime suit against APAC Customer Management, Inc., which is owned by Expert Global Solutions Inc., for $3.5 million. The call center workers alleged that the company misclassified them as exempt from overtime wages in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and Illinois state statutes. The settlement covers employees in various supervisory job titles covering a period three years before the date the class was certified until the settlement is approved. The representative plaintiff filed a separate retaliation suit against the company, alleging that he was fired for notifying his employer that he was not properly paid overtime.
The employees in this case were considered by the company as call center supervisors that were exempt from FLSA. According to the lawsuit, the named plaintiff was paid a flat salary without overtime for weeks in which he worked more than 40 hours.
FLSA provides an executive exemption for employees:
- Who are compensated on a salary basis at a rate not less than $455 per week;
- Whose primary duties must be managing the enterprise or managing a customarily recognized department or subdivision of the enterprise;
- Who customarily and regularly direct the work of at least two or more other full-time employees or their equivalent; and
- Who have the authority to hire or fire other employees, or their suggestions and recommendations as to the hiring, firing, advancement, promotion, or any other change of status of other employees must be given particular weight.
For the exemption to apply, merely calling an employee a “supervisor” is likely insufficient. Job titles do not determine status as an exempt employee. In order for an exemption to apply, an employee’s specific job duties and salary must meet the above-referenced FLSA requirements.
In a related action, the plaintiff in this case alleged that he was fired because he notified the company that he was not properly paid overtime. FLSA states that it is a violation to discharge or discriminate against any employee because he or she has filed a complaint or instituted a proceeding related to FLSA. Employees are protected regardless of whether the complaint is made orally or in writing. Most courts have also ruled that internal complaints to an employer are also protected.
If you or someone you know is misclassified as exempt and therefore not paid overtime as required by FLSA or state laws, you should call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page. Our top rated team of wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action. We will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. There are strict time limitations for filing, so it is important that you call our experienced attorneys today.