Employees claim Henrico company forced them to take unpaid leave

Employees claim Henrico company forced them to take unpaid leave
Source: NBC12

HENRICO, VA (WWBT) - Angry Henrico employees reach out to 12 On Your Side after they say they were forced into taking unpaid leave.

More than 80 workers at Teleperformance in the West End are being told to wait indefinitely as the company works through licensing requirements. They say it's now hurting their ability to make ends meet.

Some employees say it's been a tough week at Teleperformance on North Parham.

"People were in there crying, saying 'we'll clean toilets if we have to, but we need a paycheck'," Dezni Joseph said.

When she showed up for work, it wasn't business as usual.

"They told us 'tomorrow, you are coming in for half a day, then you're going home until further notice'," she explained.

She's not the only one.

"It was no notice. You either got a call that Sunday - 'don't come in Monday' or you came in. You didn't get a call and you're asked to leave," an unidentified employee said.

They say the company fell behind on making sure workers received licenses to do their job.

"They put us through the pre-licensing course, and once we passed the exam…they gave us the offer letter [for] 40 hours a week," Joseph said.

She says that was months ago.

"There are people from a year ago that's still not licensed," she added.

Some employees say that means they're not able to get paid, even though they did their part.

"Eighty-four of our full-time Richmond employees need to complete licensing requirements, and we made a decision to temporarily reduce their hours while also trying to accelerate their licensing completion. We want to emphasize this is a very temporary measure and not a reduction in force," Teleperformance representative Mark Pfeiffer said in a statement.

"We turned down opportunities. We had other job offers and stuff, and we have kids. I have a five-month-old son…I just got a new car finally, and then they tell me I'm not working anymore," Joseph said.

"At this point, some people's rent is in jeopardy," the unidentified employee said.

"We want to know that they actually care," another employee said, who wishes to remain anonymous.

It's been a week with no pay for many of those workers. One says she tried to apply for unemployment but was told no, because she's listed as volunteering to take time off - and that's not the case.

"We value our people and expect all employees will be back to full-time status by the end of this month, if not sooner," Pfeiffer said.

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