ViaSource Solutions Inc., a Thousand Oaks, Calif.-based call-center provider that markets products on television infomercials, was found by the US Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division to have misclassified hundreds of call-center agents as independent contractors rather than employees, and subsequently denying them minimum wage and overtime for hours they worked, in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The firm was also found to have failed to pay employees for time spent in training, creating additional violations of the FLSA.

“The resolution of this investigation of ViaSource Solutions sends a clear message to employers who try to reduce overhead costs at the expense of their workers,” said Kimchi Bui, director of the Wage and Hour Division in Los Angeles. “Whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the FLSA is a legal question, determined by the actual employment relationship – not by any title, or any agreement between an employer and employee. We take worker misclassification very seriously, and will hold employers accountable to classify workers properly and to provide them with all the benefits entitled by law.”

Since the finding, ViaSource has reclassified all call-center agents as employees and will pay $101,491 in back wages for minimum-wage violations to 435 employees plus $48,893 for unpaid overtime due to 165 employees.