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AT&T and Other Phone Companies Facing Class-Action for Unpaid Overtime For Allegedly Requiring Workers to Stay in Their Vehicles During Lunch Breaks

 

When making sure employees do not work overtime (or that they are being compensated for the overtime they are working) employers need to remember to account for breaks. AT&T Teleholdings, Indiana Bell, Ameritech Services, and AT&T Services are facing a class action lawsuit from eleven employees who allege they were required to work overtime.

The plaintiffs allege that they were given a lunch break of either thirty or forty-five minutes for which they were required to clock out. However, they were not allowed to leave their vehicle and, if they were assigned manhole work, they were required to guard the manhole and could not go farther than half a mile from the assigned route. The plaintiffs allege that this frequently made finding food very difficult, sometimes even impossible. If the employee had brought a lunch, then he/she was permitted to eat in their vehicle but, once they had finished eating, they were not allowed to leave or engage in personal activities.

The plaintiffs also allege that the company’s productivity requirements was a strong incentive for many technicians to work through their lunch break in order to get more done before the end of their shift.

While California has a requirement that employees be given a thirty-minute meal break for every five hours of work, Indiana has no such requirement. However, due to the length of the shifts (which are generally nine hours long, each) if an employee works through their lunch break, the result is that they are working more than eight hours a day and, in some cases more than forty hours a week. In such a case, the employees are owed overtime wages, defined as one and one-half times their normal hourly rate of pay.

A spokesperson for AT&T has come out with a statement insisting that they are in full compliance with all state and federal employment laws and have received “numerous awards for being an employer of choice.”


The attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have decades of experience litigating wage and hour claims including overtime, meal breaks, vacation pay, and tips though out Illinois and the Chicago area including in Joliet. Our offices are conveniently located in Oak Brook Terrace and Chicago, Illinois. If you think your employer may have misclassified you as exempt, contact one of our Chicago or Oakbrook attorneys today at 312-869-4095 or fill out our online form today.