Safelite, Former CSRs, Continue to Debate Class Certification Issue in Overtime Pay Suit; Plaintiffs Claim Policy Was Changed After Lawsuit Was Filed
January 11, 2011
The debate between Safelite Solutions and two former and one current CSRs over whether the latter and those similarly situated should be classified as a class continues in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio.
The former CSRs who filed the suit, Patrick W. Heaps and Richard
Ruppert, along with current CSR Joshua Pursley, allege that the
company has failed to compensate them with overtime pay when they
have worked more than 40 hours per week, and that Safelite Solutions
requires its CSRs to start their shifts each day by booting up their
computer systems, but then omit the time it takes the CSR to boot
up the system from its calculation of the hours the CSRs have worked
each week. They’ve also requested that the court expedite
discovery in the case and certify the class conditionally so that
other potential class members can be notified.
While the three had motioned for conditional class certification in October, Safelite filed a memorandum opposing the motion in early December, claiming that “Safelite does not require CSRs to boot up their computer[s] before logging into the phone system.”
“All hours of work are tracked by the phone system,” writes Safelite vice president Bryan O’Mara in a signed affidavit filed with the opposition. “Safelite’s policy and practice is to capture all of the CSRs’ duties and tasks (including booting up the computers), and to compensate them for those duties and tasks after they have logged into their phones.”
The company also alleges that Heaps, Ruppert and Pursley were actually straying from the company’s normal procedures when they booted up their computers before logging onto the phone system that tracks their hours, barring them from class certification.
“In light of Safelite’s policy that CSRs log into their
telephones before booting up their computers, the reason or reasons
why plaintiffs Heaps, Ruppert and Pursley felt inclined to reverse
this process on any particular occasion would require an individualized
inquiry as to their rationale and motivation for doing so,”
writes the Columbus, Ohio-based company. “This is inappropriate
for a collective action.”
However, in a January 3 reply in support of their own motion for class certification, the plaintiffs allege that O’Mara’s affidavit “describes [the company’s] current employment practices,” and have filed several declarations from CSRs that they say supports this argument.
“CSRs had been specifically and clearly told in training and thereafter to boot up first and record hours worked after booting up and to stop recording hours worked and then shut down their computers,” write the plaintiffs. “There was no global misunderstanding. These CSRs were not an exception to the general rule observed and known to be followed by other CSRs.”
The plaintiffs also allege that if CSRs log into the phone system prior to booting up their computers, that they must use one of two buttons—Auxillary (AUX) or After Call Work (ACW)—to avoid receiving calls until the system has started, but that the company “restricts the amount of AUX and ACW a CSR should have and lowers performance ranking for CSRs who go over that amount.”
Among the exhibits filed with the plaintiffs’ most recent motion are several declarations from CSRs who claim they were not told to log into the phone system first until August 21, 2010—just more than a week after the lawsuit was filed on August 13, 2010.
“On Saturday, August 21, 2010, after the … lawsuit was filed, I saw a memo from Brian O’Mara, a vice president at Safelite, advising us that a lawsuit had been filed regarding these procedures,” writes Jo McIntosh, who claims to have worked as a Safelite CSR from October 2009 to November 2010. “The memo indicated that we should follow the ‘New Hire’ procedure that had us first log into the phone and then boot-up the computer. However, this was not how I was trained and based on my observation of other CSRs, not how any other CSR did the job.”
The McIntosh declaration is accompanied by several related CSR declarations, including Pursley, one of the named plaintiffs in the suit.
At press time, Safelite Solutions had not filed a response to the latest plaintiff motion in support of the class certification.
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