No Joint Employment Relationship Between Bank and Call Center Employees, Court Finds

Bank of America did not act as a joint employer and must be dismissed from an overtime lawsuit brought by call center employees in Pennsylvania, according to a federal district court judge in Pennsylvania. Lepkowski v. Telatron Mktg. Grp. Inc. (W.D. Pa. 2011).

Judge Sean J. McLaughlin held that no joint employment relationship existed between Bank of America and the call center employees, who worked for Telatron. Judge McLaughlin considered factors used by the Second and Ninth Circuits in applying the “economic reality” test and determined there was insufficient evidence of joint employment, as the bank did not set compensation rates, had no power to hire and fire employees, and did not supervise call center employees or control their schedules or working conditions.
Judge McLaughlin conceded that the call center employees used computers and software owned by Bank of America, but balanced these factors against the employees’ location at Telatron’s facilities, not the bank’s.
“While an employee’s use of the putative employer’s equipment can indeed contribute to an inference of joint employment, ownership of the premises on which work is performed is more indicative of supervisory control” than ownership of equipment, Judge McLaughlin wrote.

“This decision may have some persuasive value for Colorado employers,” notes MSEC attorney Curtis Graves, “but this is a very narrow holding, and is of limited value outside of the call center context.”