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Hens v. Clientlogic Operating Corp.

September 22, 2006

MARTIN J. HENS, PAUL VAN VOORHEES, DAWNE DOMAGALA, AND JENNIFER VITELLO, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ALL OTHERS SIMILARLY SITUATED, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
CLIENTLOGIC OPERATING CORPORATION, DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: William M. Skretny United States District Judge

ORDER

I. INTRODUCTION

Plaintiffs, current and former hourly telephone customer service employees, commenced this action on behalf of themselves and others similarly situated on May 31, 2005, seeking unpaid wages from Defendant pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA"), 29 U.S.C. § 201. Currently before this Court is the Plaintiffs' Motion for Conditional Certification as an FLSA Collective Action and for Court Authorized Notice. Plaintiffs also seek discovery of the names and other identifying information of Defendant's current and former employees to facilitate notification. For the reasons that follow, Plaintiffs' motion is granted.

II. BACKGROUND

A. Facts

Defendant ClientLogic Operating Corporation ("ClientLogic") is a "leading global business process outsourcing provider in the customer care, fulfillment and back office processing industry." (Goldsberry Dec., ¶ 2). ClientLogic employs over 23,000 associates in 52 locations in 14 countries throughout North America, Europe, Asia, Central America and Africa. (Goldsberry Dec., ¶ 2). Currently, ClientLogic employs approximately 7,000 full-time and part-time hourly telephone customer service employees at its 17 call centers in the United States. (Goldsberry Dec., ¶ 7). ClientLogic has promulgated official work, pay and timekeeping policies, (Goldsberry Dec., ¶ 12), including an official "Paid Time Policy," which provides that "[n]onexempt associates are paid for their actual hours worked plus overtime pay as specified or governed by wage-hour/labor law." (Goldsberry Dec., Ex. A).

Plaintiffs Martin Hens, Paul Van Voorhees, Dawne Domagala, and Jennifer Vitello were employed by ClientLogic as hourly telephone customer service representatives at ClientLogic's call center facilities on Ellicott Street and Hertel Avenue in Buffalo, New York. (Am. Compl., ¶¶ 15, 20, 25, 29). Plaintiffs were hired by ClientLogic to work at an agreed hourly rate of pay. (Am. Compl., ¶¶ 16, 21, 26, 30). Plaintiffs allege that it has been ClientLogic's willful policy, pattern and/or practice to not pay its employees for time worked for the company's benefit, including, in some cases, time worked in excess of 40 hours a week. (Am. Compl., ¶ 95; Hens Dec., ¶ 3; Van Voorhees Dec., ¶ 3; Domagala Dec., ¶ 3; Vitello Dec., ¶ 3).

Plaintiff Hens alleges that he was instructed during formal training to come into work prior to the start of his shift and to stay after the end of his shift to complete certain tasks. (Hens Dec., ¶ 4). He was advised that he would not be paid for the time he worked before the start of his shift. (Hens Dec., ¶ 4). It was Hens' understanding that he would be disciplined, written up, or reprimanded if he was not logged on and ready to take calls at the time his shift officially began. (Hens Dec., ¶ 5). Accordingly, he routinely arrived at the ClientLogic facility approximately 20 to 30 minutes before the start of his shift to perform essential tasks such as finding a desk, booting up the computer system, logging into computer applications, checking e-mails and updates, and reviewing the "to do" list of open cases. (Hens Dec., ¶¶ 7, 8). Hens alleges that ClientLogic did not pay him for the time he worked before the start of his scheduled shifts. (Hens Dec., ¶ 7).

Plaintiff Voorhees alleges that he performed work for which he was not compensated before and after his regular scheduled shifts and during his unpaid lunch breaks. (Van Voorhees Dec., ¶¶ 3, 6, 7, 13, 16). Approximately 2 or 3 times a week during his employment with ClientLogic, after the completion of his scheduled shift, Van Voorhees would end his last customer service call, close out of his computer programs and shut down his computer, a process which took him 5 to 30 minutes to complete. (Van Voorhees Dec., ¶ 13). Approximately 2 or 3 times per week, Van Voorhees spent five minutes per day, reviewing "Hot News" and company e-mail during his unpaid lunch break. (Van Voorhees Dec., ¶ 16). Van Voorhees was required to check "Hot News" at least twice a day, but he did not have time to read it during his scheduled shift. (Van Voorhees Dec., ¶ 16).

Plaintiff Domagala alleges that she worked after her scheduled shift for approximately 10 minutes per day, 3 or 4 nights a week. (Domagala Dec., ¶ 11). As a Product Specialist, Domagala filled in for her supervisor 2 or 3 times a month. (Domagala Dec., ¶ 11). On those occasions, Domagala worked about 30 minutes after her scheduled shift, after all of the members of her team were "logged out" of the telephone system. (Domagala Dec., ¶ 11). Domagala is confident that her supervisors knew that she worked after her scheduled shift because she advised them that she worked overtime or they saw her working after her shift was over. (Domagala Dec., ¶ 13). Nonetheless, her supervisors told her that she would not be paid for work performed after her scheduled shift. (Domagala Dec., ¶ 13). In addition to working after her shifts, Domagala worked through part of her unpaid lunch break for an average of 3 to 15 minutes per day, approximately once or twice a week, to finish up phone calls. (Domagala Dec., ¶ 14).

Plaintiff Vitello alleges that her supervisors and managers regularly instructed her to arrive at the call center early to be ready to take calls at the beginning of her shift. (Vitello Dec., ¶ 4). When she complained about not being paid for that time, her supervisor told her that it was her responsibility to arrive early to find seating and get her computer working so that she would be ready to take calls at the start of her scheduled shift. (Vitello Dec., ¶ 4 & 6). Vitello claims that she also performed work after her regularly scheduled shift, sometimes up to 45 minutes, and during her lunch break for which she was not compensated. (Vitello Dec., ¶¶ 14, 16). Vitello and the other Plaintiffs saw other employees on her team performing work "off the clock." (Vitello Dec., ¶ 11; Hens Dec., ¶ 11; Van Voorhees Dec., ¶ 11; Domagala Dec., ¶ 9).

B. Procedural History

Plaintiffs commenced this action on May 31, 2005, by filing a Complaint in the United States District Court for the Western District of New York. Plaintiffs amended the Complaint on August 31, 2005. On December 29, 2005, Plaintiffs filed the instant Motion for Conditional Certification as an FLSA Collective Action and for Court Authorized Notice Pursuant to 29 U.S.C. ยง ...


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