By Thomas Stauffer
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 02.27.2006
About 1,400 past and present Tucson call center employees of Convergys Corp. will receive more than $350,000 in back wages under a settlement with the U.S.
Department of Labor.
An investigation conducted by the Wage and Hour Division’s Phoenix office determined that Cincinnati-based Convergys, which currently employs about 500
people at its call center at 3760 N. Commerce Drive, failed to compensate workers for time they spent at work preparing for their shift, said Deanne Amaden,
a spokeswoman for the department’s Wage and Hour Division Regional Office in San Francisco.
The back wages for the “pre-shift” work time will be paid to employees for work performed between September 2002 and April 2005 at Convergys, which at one
time had more than 1,400 employees and a second Tucson location at 9060 S. Rita Road, Amaden said.
The $352,376 to be paid to 1,396 employees is based on the amount of unpaid hours worked by the affected workers, Amaden said.
“What they did was go back and do a construction of what would have been worked, so the amounts people will get back should range from very little to a
few thousand dollars depending on how much work they did during that period,” she said.
A former Convergys worker said pre-shift time was comprised of logging onto the computer and bringing up all the applications needed to do begin receiving
or making calls.
“Depending on the computer and who used it before you, that could take anywhere from five minutes to a half hour, and you were never paid for that,” said
Ellen Hudson, who worked at Convergys from February 2000 to April 2005.
Convergys issued a press statement that denied allegations of violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, but confirmed that it had reached an agreement to
pay the back wages.
“This resolution with the (Department of Labor) represents a decision by the company not to engage in protracted litigation with the (department) on issues
that were isolated or unique to Tucson, and that have long since been addressed within our operations.”
By Thomas Stauffer