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Call Us. Submit Your Case, QVC Workers Secure Collective Cert. In Login Time Suit

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By Grace Elletson · Dec 14, 2021, 6:13 PM EST ·

A Pennsylvania federal judge granted a group of QVC workers collective certification Tuesday in a suit alleging the television shopping channel failed to properly pay its employees for the time they spent logging on and off computers to start and end their shifts.

U.S. District Judge Juan R. Sánchez said the workers, represented by lead plaintiff Lanitra Adams, adequately demonstrated that they should move forward as a collective despite QVC's arguments that the time workers spent logging on and off for work was inconsequential and that some of the opt-in plaintiffs weren't eligible for the collective.

"Although as QVC points out, the seven materials submitted are not perfect, and it has submitted affidavits from six individuals who would undoubtedly qualify as potential class members indicating that it takes minutes at most to perform the tasks at issue," Judge Sanchez said. "The court nevertheless finds Adams has made the necessary showing."

Adams worked as a customer service representative for QVC in Chesapeake, Virginia, from June 2019 to March 2020. She sued the company in February, alleging that she spent 10-20 minutes before her shift and 10-15 minutes after her shift logging into and out of QVC's computers and its software and phone systems in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Pennsylvania Minimum Wage Act.

She filed 15 declarations from other employees who said they had to do the same and were not properly compensated for their work. Adams has asked that all former and current customer service representatives who worked for the Pennsylvania-based QVC over the past three years be included in the suit.

But QVC pushed back and filed a motion in July urging the judge to reject the collective certification request. The company argued that workers had no evidence to show they had spent more than a half-hour working off the clock.

It also provided affidavits from six former workers who said that it took only minutes to log on and off QVC's systems. The company also argued that eight of the 15 employees brought forward by Adams did not work at QVC during the three-year statute of limitations that covers this case and can't be a part of the collective.

But Judge Sanchez said the FLSA requires that the workers make only a "modest" showing that the violation the lead plaintiff experienced applies to many others. Judge Sanchez said Adams has met this threshold by including the 15 declarations from other QVC customer service representatives who said they were also underpaid.

Judge Sanchez also granted Adams permission to retrieve the names, last-known mailing addresses and dates of employment of all employees who would be included in the collective from QVC to notify them of the action. But her request to notify members through text message was denied because Judge Sanchez said this would be an invasion of their privacy and unnecessary.

Adams' attorney Matthew S. Grimsley of The Lazzaro Law Firm told Law360 that while it would be much easier to notify proposed collective members through text given that the post office is experiencing delays brought on by COVID-19, he said his team is happy with the judge's decision.

"I think that the judge's decision on conditional certification is just consistent with the law," Grimsley said. "And it's important that it occurs early on in the case because the statute of limitations under the FLSA continues to run on potential opt-in claims."

Counsel for QVC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Adams and the proposed class is represented by Gary F. Lynch and Edward W. Ciolko of Carlson Lynch LLP and by Anthony J. Lazzaro, Matthew S. Grimsley, Lori M. Griffin and Chastity L. Christy of The Lazzaro Law Firm LLC and by Michael Fradin of Fradin Law.

QVC is represented by Dawn Siler-Nixon, Shane T. Muñoz and Cullan E. Jones of FordHarrison LLP and by Diane Apa Hauser of Paisner Litvin 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.

--Editing by Amy Rowe.

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