Two former US call centre workers have filed a lawsuit against HSBC alleging that the bank violated federal and state labour laws by not paying them overtime.
The lawsuit was filed in New York federal court by James Stefaniak and Keith Panaccione, two former call centre workers at the bank's facilities in Buffalo.
They claim that neither they nor their coworkers received overtime pay as required by federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York state laws.
Says Panaccione: "Like many employees at the call centre, I came in early and left late, but was only paid for scheduled shifts. In my case, it was one to two extra hours per week, on average, that I gave the company without overtime compensation. That adds up over time."
Lawyers repesenting the pair say they will seek certification of the case as a class action that could include thousands of current and former workers at HSBC's call centres in the New York area, Virginia, Illinois, Nevada and other locations.
George Hanson, from law firm Stueve Siegel Hanson Woody, says: "The law requires that employers properly record work performed and pay workers for all of the time that they work, not just for their scheduled shifts. Unfortunately, this practice is common to call centres across the country."
HSBC is currently in the process of shifting some 4000 UK call centre jobs to low-cost overseas operations in Malaysia, China and India.