News : Former Maximus Call Center Trainers Settle Suit
Boise, ID, USA, Dec 3, 2015 -- Chadwick Davis left his job as a college liaison in Idaho Falls and moved to Boise in 2013 to work at the Maximus call center.
The Virginia-based company had opened a call center on Boise’s Hewlett Packard campus and hired about 1,600 local workers. The Maximus call center would help consumers navigate the launch of healthcare.gov — the federal health insurance exchange created by the Affordable Care Act.
Last summer, Davis was among the 1,500 people laid off when Maximus shuttered the center. But for much of his two years working at Maximus, Davis was in litigation against his employer.
Davis and 32 other trainers in Boise and 13 in a Brownsville, Texas, call center sued Maximus in January 2014, alleging the company forced them to work unpaid overtime.
"The main issue surrounding the lawsuit was never about having to work the long, and sometimes exhausting, hours that it took to get that center off the ground," Davis said in an interview with the Statesman. "But it was always about being rightfully compensated for doing so."
The Boise employees claimed Maximus did not pay them for a total of nearly 10,000 hours of overtime work. An expert witness hired by Maximus told the court that, based on a statistical software program, the Boise employees could only claim 3,458 hours.
The trainers worked both on-site and at home after hours, said Howard Belodoff, a Boise attorney who represented the trainers along with Jeremiah Hudson of Fisher Rainey Hudson law firm in Boise.
A California U.S. District judge in mid-November approved a class-action settlement between the trainers and Maximus. Each trainer would receive about 80 percent of the overtime pay Maximus owed them — a total of $375,800.
The judge also ruled that Maximus must double that amount, because it owed "liquidated damages" to the trainers for not having paid them overtime.
The evidence showed Maximus was worried about getting sued for not classifying workers as legally owed overtime pay, the judge said.
But the judge did not find Maximus had an "honest intention" to figure out whether it was breaking the rules or take steps to make sure it was following the law.
Meanwhile, more than 100 former call-center supervisors who also alleged Maximus forced them to work unpaid overtime have not settled. A separate lawsuit against Maximus — filed by workers who say Maximus led them to believe their jobs were permanent instead of seasonal, temporary positions — is still pending in federal court.
Davis, 36, says he is still looking for a new job. He wants to stay in Boise but is contemplating moving back to Idaho Falls.
A spokesman for Maximus did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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MAXIMUS is a leading provider of government services worldwide and is devoted to providing health and human services program management and consulting services to its clients. The Company has more than 6,500 employees located in more than 220 offices in the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom. Additionally, MAXIMUS is included in the Russell 2000 Index and the S&P SmallCap 600 Index.
Published: Monday, December 7, 2015