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By Irene Spezzamonte · Jul 29, 2021, 6:10 PM EDT
Home shopping retailer QVC urged a Pennsylvania federal judge to deny collective certification to workers who say they were not compensated for time logging in and out, arguing that the allegations are "bare-bones" because the whole process only required them to press one button.
The workers' allegations that it took them up to 35 minutes to log in to the company's computer and phone systems are not supported by any evidence, QVC Inc. said in its motion Wednesday, and U.S. District Judge J. Curtis Joyner should therefore not grant the workers' bid for collective certification.
"The allegations in the complaint are purely speculative and lack the evidence necessary to demonstrate a factual nexus in support of plaintiff's claim that a common policy that violated the law existed and was applied to the collective," QVC said.
QVC's bid comes after Lanitra Adams asked Judge Joyner in June to grant collective certification in her suit, which alleged workers spent 10 to 20 minutes before their shifts getting connected and logged in to various computer, software and phone systems they needed for work, and another 10 to 15 minutes at the end of each shift logging out.
Adams said such time often required employees to work past 40 hours in a week, but QVC failed to compensate them accordingly, violating the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act.
Adams seeks to represent a nationwide, opt-in collective of current and former QVC workers seeking unpaid wages and overtime under the FLSA, and a class of Pennsylvania QVC employees under the PMWA.
In her motion, Adams included the declaration of 15 other customer service representatives in an attempt to show that she was not the only one affected by QVC's policies.
However, QVC disagreed with the argument, saying Adams did not show that she or the other customer service workers ever complained to the company for not getting paid for the actual amount of hours they worked.
"These form declarations fall far short of warranting conditional certification, as all contain nearly identical bare-bones boilerplate language, conclusory allegations, and legal conclusions without any specific facts in support," QVC said.
Additionally, eight of those workers did not work at the company during the three-year statute of limitations period and could not, therefore, be considered part of the proposed collective, the company said.
Besides, QVC said that the time was de minimis because the logging in and out process should have only taken a few minutes.
Even if it took Adams more time, she was violating the company's "well-established policy prohibiting off-the-clock work" and never reported any overtime.
Anthony J. Lazzaro of The Lazzaro Law Firm LLC, which is representing Adams, said that QVC is putting "the cart before the horse" by focusing on the merits of the case during a collective certification stage.
"Even if the merits were considered, their arguments are pretty bad," Lazzaro said in a phone interview with Law360 on Thursday. "When people get to work, they should be paid for their time."
Attorneys representing QVC did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.
Adams and the proposed class are represented by Gary F. Lynch and Edward W. Ciolko of Carlson Lynch LLP, Anthony J. Lazzaro and Chastity L. Christy of The Lazzaro Law Firm LLC and Michael Fradin of Fradin Law.
QVC is represented by Dawn Siler-Nixon, Shane T. Muñoz and Cullan E. Jones of FordHarrison LLP.
The case is Adams v. QVC Inc., case number 2:21-cv-00646, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
--Additional reporting by Matthew Santoni. Editing by Haylee Pearl.
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