Call Center Customer Service Employees

A call center is a central customer service operation where agents (often called customer care specialists or customer service representatives) handle telephone calls for their company or on behalf of a client. 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. Call centers are subject to California state and federal labor laws.

Under federal and state employment laws, companies are required to keep records of the wages and hours that call center employees work. Our employment law lawyers often find that call center customer service employees do not receive the accurate itemized wage statements clearly revealing all of the information that is required by California labor laws and regulations.

One major problem with respect to the wage and hour rights of call center workers is that employers fail to pay them for all hours worked. Hours worked includes all time a call center employee must be on duty, or on the employer's premises or at any other prescribed place of work, from the beginning of the first principal activity of the workday to the end of the last principal activity of the workday. This includes the time call center workers spending booting up and shutting down their computers pre-shift and post-shift.

An example of common violations of state labor laws committed against call center workers and other customer service representatives occurs when employees working in call centers spend time starting computers before shifts to download work instructions, computer applications, and work-related emails.

Another major problem in the call center industry is that many companies pay customer service workers a salary without additional overtime pay for working more than eight hours in a workday or forty hours in a workweek. A salary, by itself, does not exempt employees from the minimum wage or from overtime. Whether employees are exempt from minimum wage and/or overtime depends on their job duties and responsibilities as well as the salary paid. Sometimes, in call centers, salaried employees do not meet all the requirements specified by the regulations to be considered as exempt.

At Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik, our California employment law lawyers represent customer representative workers in cases of violations of state labor laws, including wrongful termination, discrimination and harassment. Customer service representatives serve as a direct point of contact for customers and are responsible for ensuring that the company's customers receive an adequate level of service or help with their questions and concerns. These employees interact with customers to provide information in response to inquiries about products or services and to handle and resolve complaints.