Charged With $126K in Call Center Back Pay

September 10, 2003 ( - Nearly 900 current and former telephone operators for reservation service will be receiving a total $126,133 in back overtime wages.

>The payment comes after an investigation by the Department of Labor’s (DoL) Wage and Hour Division uncovered was deducting 30 minutes a day for two 15-minute rest breaks from the pay of 898 workers.    Following the investigation, the Dallas, Texas-based reservation service agreed to the back payment to its affected call center employees, according to a report by

With the deduction in pay was initiating from its employees, Wage and Hour administrator Tammy McCutchen offered some guidance on how employers should handle rest breaks with their nonexempt staff.   “Employers can deduct lunch breaks or rest breaks if these breaks are at least 20 minutes or more; however, employers who offer 15 minute morning or afternoon coffee breaks or rest breaks are required to pay employees for that time.”

“In this case, the employer unlawfully deducted the breaks, depriving workers from overtime pay each week. did cooperate with the department and has changed this practice to comply with the law,” McCutchen added.