Customer Service Representative Overtime Pay Attorney

San Diego Labor Class Actions

It is unfortunately common for workers in the customer service industry to be misclassified as exempt under the administrative exemption clause. This means that these employees, who oftentimes work more than forty hours a week, are not paid overtime pay. If you fall into this category, it is important that you engage the help of a customer service representative overtime pay attorney to have your situation reviewed and receive the legal advice that you need.

Call Centers

Call centers and telemarketing businesses have increased significantly over the recent years. Many customer service representatives, IT support, and other employees work in call centers, and they are often unfairly subjected to unpaid overtime. There are roughly 470,000 people who work in call centers across the U.S.

A call center can be a branch of a larger company that provides some form of telecommunication services, or it can be an independent company. The main duties of a customer service representative can include:

  • Answering incoming calls
  • Making outbound calls
  • Generating leads
  • Competing surveys
  • Other related duties

Fair Labor Standards Act Coverage

The U.S. Department of Labor permits all employees at a call center to be covered under the FLSA if the call center generates $500,000 or more in annual volume and has at least two employees.

Customer Service Representative Overtime Pay Attorney

Pre- and Post-Shift Work

It is common for call center employees to complete some work duties before they clock in or after they clock out of their shift. Many times, the employer requires them to complete tasks before they can make their first call. These duties and tasks should be paid.

  • Pre-shift work. Before an employee starts making or answering calls, there can be several tasks that are to be completed. An employee may spend several minutes starting up their computer, checking emails, completing training videos, or filling out paperwork before they make their first call. These are essential duties for the job, and the employee should be compensated for this extra work before the shift.
  • Post-shift work. Due to the nature of their duties, employees cannot close down right at a certain time because they may still be on a call. They have to finish the call, record the proper notes, fill out any paperwork, and then shut down their computers. These items can quickly add up to several extra minutes spent closing down after the shift has ended. Like pre-shift work, these duties are essential to the functions of the job, and employees deserve to be fairly compensated for their work.

These pre- and post-shift duties can add up to significant time spent working off the clock. For example, assume that an employee regularly works an extra 15 minutes before and after their shift. If the employee does this every day, it can add up to a total of 42.5 hours worked as opposed to the standard 40 hours. Two and a half hours may not seem that significant, but the overtime pay can quickly add up.

Administrative Exemption

Employers commonly try to classify call center workers or customer service representatives as exempt under the administrative exemption. It is important to highlight the criteria that must be met for an employee to qualify under the administrative exemption.

  • The employee must be compensated on a salary or fee basis.
  • The employee’s primary duties must be made up of general business operations or management. This type of work generally includes accounting, advertising, human resources, quality control, research, and other related activities.
  • The employee’s primary duties must allow for the independent judgment and discretion of the employee. This simply means that the employee’s role must possess the ability to make independent choices free from immediate supervision.


Another way that employers exempt customer service representatives from overtime pay is because they receive paid commissions. For an employee to qualify for this exemption, they must meet the following three criteria:

  1. The employee must be employed by a retail or service business.
  2. The employee must have a regular rate of pay that exceeds one and one-half times the minimum wage for every overtime hour worked in a work week.
  3. The employee must have commissions that make up over half of their total earnings in a representative period.

Filing an Unpaid Overtime Claim

Filing an unpaid overtime claim may be the right path forward to receiving your unpaid overtime pay. It can be a good idea to discuss the issue first with your employer to see if it can be resolved internally. There might be a reporting or banking error that could be fixed. You should submit a written request to the employer explaining the amount of wages that they owe. The request should be dated and maintained for your records.

If the employer denies or ignores your request, then the next step may be to file an official complaint with the Wage and Hour Division (WHD). The complaint should generally include your:

  • Personal information
  • Employer’s name and address
  • Job title
  • Wage information

Once the complaint is filed, the WHD will conduct an investigation into the matter.

It is important to remember that you should keep documents of all relevant information to your case. It is also wise to work with an experienced overtime pay attorney to help ensure that the necessary legal documents and deadlines are met.


Q: How Much Money Can Be Recovered in an Overtime Claim?

A: The amount of money or compensation that can be recovered in an unpaid overtime case often depends on several different factors. In general, an employee is entitled to the amount of the wages that the employer withheld plus any interest. It is also possible that the employer might be required to cover the associated attorney costs and court fees that were incurred. 

Another possibility is that the court will award punitive damages to the employee. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the employer and discourage future violations.

Q: If I Am Paid a Salary, Am I Still Entitled to Overtime Pay?

A: Yes, you can still be entitled to receive overtime pay, even if you are paid a salary. Just because you are a salaried employee does not mean that you cannot receive overtime pay. Under federal overtime law, salaried employees can receive overtime pay for hours worked that exceed the standard forty-hour work week. 

Overtime laws can be difficult to understand, and it often takes the experience of an overtime pay attorney to properly assess the circumstances of your case. Speak with an overtime pay attorney today to review your situation.

Q: What If I Don’t Have My Pay Stubs to Prove Unpaid Overtime?

A: If you do not have your paystubs handy to provide as evidence of your hours worked and compensation received, you can request this information from your employer. It is the responsibility of the employer to keep records of the time worked for each employee. However, it is not uncommon for employers to fail to properly keep updated records of time worked. If this occurs, then the court will likely accept your unpaid overtime claim on the basis of your good faith and reasonable estimate of overtime hours worked.

Q: How Far Back Can I Claim Unpaid Overtime?

A: You can claim unpaid overtime wages as far back as two years under federal law or three years by California law. If it is found that your employer knowingly withheld overtime pay or knew that they were violating the overtime laws, the FLSA allows you to claim up to three years of overtime pay. The timeframe only stops once you have actually filed the overtime pay claim. It is important to take action as soon as possible to ensure that you receive the fair amount of unpaid overtime pay that you rightfully deserve.

Q: Do I Have to Wait Until I Quit to File a Claim?

A: You do not have to quit your job before you file an unpaid overtime claim. Employees are protected under federal law from any retaliatory or discriminatory action from the employer because of an unpaid overtime claim. Although it can lead to a somewhat awkward situation between you and your employer, your rights are protected under the law. It can be very beneficial to speak with a qualified attorney who has experience in helping employees resolve their unpaid overtime cases.

A Law Firm That Fights for You

It is not uncommon for customer service representatives to be taken advantage of by their employers. Employers who unfairly withhold overtime pay from their workers should be held accountable to the full extent of the FLSA. For workers to recover the overtime pay that they are entitled to, the experience and acumen of a qualified overtime pay attorney are often required to help resolve these matters.

At Ferraro Vega San Diego Employment Lawyers, our legal team has the experience necessary to help individuals resolve their unpaid overtime cases. Our law firm is equipped to provide the dedication, determination, and compassion necessary to resolve each case in a timely fashion. Workers deserve to be compensated for each hour that they work. They should not have to feel that they are being unfairly overworked. Contact our office today to speak with a member of our team.