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July 18, 2005
Humana Paying $1M in Back Wages to Call Center Employees

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Humana Inc., a Louisville, Kentucky-based health insurance provider with about 13,000 employees nationwide, has agreed to pay more than $1 million in back wages to 2,510 employees for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

Investigators with the DOL's Wage and Hour Division determined that from February 2003 to February 2005, Humana failed to properly compensate customer service and claims specialists who worked in its call centers in Louisville; Green Bay, Wisconsin; and Cincinnati, Ohio.

The company had failed to record and properly compensate these employees for time worked off-the-clock in powering up equipment, logging on to the network, and bringing up programs necessary to perform their duties, the investigators found.

Because the employees couldn't do their jobs without performing those duties first, it's considered work time, said Jo Anne Burgoyne, spokeswoman for the DOL's Atlanta office, which oversaw the investigation.

The FLSA requires that employers pay the minimum wage for all hours of work and overtime at a rate of one and one-half times the employees' regular rate of pay for hours worked over 40 in a workweek. The law also requires employers to maintain accurate records of employees' wages, hours and other conditions of employment.

Humana acknowledged no wrongdoing and "worked cooperatively" with the Labor Department over several months to reach the agreement, Humana spokeswoman Mary Sellers said.

"We don't believe that any violations took place," Sellers was quoted as saying by the Louisville Courier-Journal. Nevertheless, she added, Humana agreed to pay the back wages because "it's the right thing to do for the employees."

Humana paid a total of $1,013,259, Burgoyne said.

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