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Charter Communications Misclassified Direct Sales Reps as Exempt California Class Action

Charter Communications Sign in Dry Landscape

One violation of labor laws can create a ripple effect of other violations. If an employer has misclassified a worker as exempt (from overtime pay), for example, that may indicate a whole host of other labor requirements that the employer has therefore not observed. The complaint for this class action alleges that Charter Communications, LLC did not properly classify some of its workers under California law and therefore owes them for overtime, missed breaks, waiting time penalties, and other things.

Plaintiff Daniel Chavez is a Direct Sales Representative (DSR) with Charter in California. In this capacity, he and other DSRs sold phone, Internet, and cable services to consumers and installed and connected the equipment needed for these services. He worked for Charter and its predecessor, Time Warner Cable, for twenty-three years, until he resigned on January 4, 2019. 

The complaint alleges that the company misclassifies its DSRs as outside salespeople who are exempt from overtime laws. Although Chavez says he worked ten to twelve hours per day and often six to seven days per week at the job, he never received overtime pay. He was also not given meal or rest breaks. According to the complaint, “Given the volume of work assigned to them by [Charter], it was practically impossible for [Chavez and fellow DSRs] to take these statutorily-mandated breaks.” They were never paid the additional amount required for missed breaks.

However, the complaint says, neither Chavez and nor the company’s other DSRs “spent more than 50% of their time selling goods or services out in the field…” 

This is because the installation and connection for a sale took more time than making the sale. A sale was not considered finished, and the DSR’s commission was not earned, until the DSR completed the installation and connection for the customer. The complaint alleges that the DSRs thus spent more of their time on this work than on the selling portion of the job.

Because Chavez’s wage statements did not reflect the overtime hours and missed meals and rest breaks, the complaint says, they are not accurate. Keeping inaccurate records are another violation of labor laws. Also, since DSRs who left the company were not paid the overtime and other requirements for non-exempt people at separation, the complaint says they are due waiting time penalties.

The class for this action is all current and former employees of Charter in California who, at any time between July 8, 2015 and July 8, 2019, worked as a non-exempt DSR.

In addition to this class, the complaint defines subclasses for overtime, first meal period, second meal period, rest period, waiting time, and wage statements.

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