The Association of U S West Retirees



Class-action suit against Qwest is certified
Minneapolis Star Tribune
Saturday, August 4, 2007

A Minnesota federal court has conditionally certified a class-action lawsuit against Qwest Communications.  The suit alleges that the company systematically required as many as 8,000 employees in call center nationwide to do unpaid work before and after their regular hours.

The order, by Judge Michael Davis, authorizes the Minneapolis law firm Nichols Kaster & Anderson to notify all current and former Qwest call center employees since Aug. 30, 2003, of their potential eligibility to join the claim.

"Plaintiffs have established a colorable basis that they are victims of a single, nationwide policy by Qwest to illegally withhold overtime pay," Davis wrote.

The decision expands what began as a Minnesota lawsuit that included Nikie Graham, who worked in Qwest's St. Paul center in 2004 and 2005.  The regular demands of the job -- such as staring 10 to 20 computer systems and programs before the shift -- tacked about half an hour onto the average workday, Graham said.

Qwest, which is based in Denver and has about 4,200 employees in Minnesota, has denied the allegations.  Since 2003, it has operated consumer call center in 13 states and small-business call centers in six states.