CenturyTel faces labor lawsuit

A pending class action lawsuit alleges that CenturyTel, which is currently in the process of acquiring Embarq, underpaid some employees at some its call centers by making them come in before their shifts started and having them perform other tasks "off the clock." The lawsuit was filed last March on behalf of a single CenturyTel employee in Columbia, Mo., but has since been made into an "opt in" class action suit that suggests that possible Fair Labor Standards Act violations may have occurred in CenturyTel call centers in San Marcos, Texas; Shreveport, La.; Kaprell, Mont.; La Crosse, Wis.; and Monroe, La., as well.

A story in the Columbia Daily Tribune has a CenturyTel representative stating that the claims are unfounded: "We believe CenturyTel's policies are in compliance with all applicable laws." The lawsuit is indeed several months old at this point, but disputes between companies and workers have begun to get much attention in recent months, as retirees have fought back against changing benefit programs, and unions and employers have argued over contracts. An Embarq shareholder late last month filed a lawsuit alleging that Embarq didn't act in the best interests of shareholders when it agreed to be taken over by CenturyTel, because the accepted offer was lower than another bid Embarq received.

For more:
- The Columbia Daily Tribune has more details
- The Kansas City Star covered the shareholder suit

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CenturyTel announced the Embarq acquisition last year
Embarq is facing a lawsuit from some of its retirees