Two plaintiffs, one a Texas and the other a California resident, have filed suit against employer Charter Communications LLC for state labor law violations. In the complaint, filed last Friday in the Central District of California, the former employees allege that time they worked “on-call” was compensable, yet was remunerated at less than $2.00 per hour, a rate far below the minimum wage and overtime rates required by the Texas and California labor codes.
The filing describes St. Louis, Missouri-based Charter Communications as a telecommunications and mass media company that provides cable, internet, and communications products and services countrywide. It explains that the plaintiffs worked in Texas and California for Charter as “Maintenance Techs.” Allegedly and among other job responsibilities, the plaintiffs were required to respond to emergency outages in cable, internet, and communication services infrastructure, requiring them to be on-call 128 per week in addition to their 40-hour workweek during on-call shifts.
In addition to the overtime hours, Charter reportedly imposed onerous restrictions on maintenance techs during on-call periods. Per company policy, the plaintiffs and putative class members would have to make themselves available 24 hours per day, be geographically proximate to potential call-outs, and park and keep company “Bucket Trucks,” vehicles equipped with “a crane-like, mechanized aerial lift platform,” at their residences. If a maintenance tech strayed more than a few minutes from their bucket truck’s parking location, they could not comply with reporting time and outage resolution obligations, the plaintiffs explain.
In turn, the former workers allege that the company’s “flat-rate” policy resulted in gross undercompensation. They seek damages and to certify a class of Texas and California maintenance techs who worked for Charter during the applicable limitations period, are not subject to Charter’s arbitration program, were assigned a Charter-owned bucket truck, and who worked one or more on-call shifts.