A Joplin woman considers filing a complaint against a company that allegedly hasn't been paying workers in a timely manner. The woman says even before she gets paid every other week, she has to have a contingency plan for handling bills that might go unpaid.
She says the company she works for has never offered a reason why she and other workers haven't been paid on time. But a company spokesman denies any ongoing problem.
Billie Ward is one of hundreds of others who work at EGS (Expert Global Solutions, Inc.) in Joplin, taking customer service calls for companies like Best Buy. She's worked there for the past two years, and says EGS has shorted her in pay.
"More often than not," says Ward.
Ward says it's not like the company is denying her proper pay.
"I've had to wait two weeks to get my money," says Ward.
Rather, Ward says she ends up getting the right payment amount only after she brings it to the supervisors' attention.
Workers get paid more an hour during the weekday to cover working the weekend. But Ward says most every other week when she gets paid, she loses-out on at least $80 in weekend pay.
"You start feeling like you're working in a sweat shop," says Ward.
Ward says she has been doing a lot of sweating at home when she tries to budget.
"I'm going to my family or I'm going to churches and saying I don't have the money for food for two weeks because my check was short. It's not only embarrassing, it's time-consuming," says Ward.
Ward feels she's trapped.
"As time goes on, I mean, there have been times that I've thought about quitting. But I'm an older person now, I'm 48, and I can't just walk out and find another job like I used to," says Ward.
An EGS corporate spokesman says mistakes happen.
"When there's a glitch or a human error, we want to make sure that it gets escalated immediately to the highest levels of HR," says Ken Muche with EGS.
But EGS denies any consistent payroll problems.
"When we look at our payroll system, the hardware and the software has been functioning properly and well for quite some time," says Muche.
Ward still plans on filing a complaint with the state department of labor.
"I don't want to bite the hand that feeds me. At the same token, I want to be able to depend on the money that I'm supposed to be getting," says Ward.
Ward says the issue at hand is really not only about her, it's about single parents in the same situation as her.
The Missouri Department of Labor says if someone believes they are not being paid correctly, they can complete a minimum wage complaint form letter, available online. They can also contact the Division of Labor Standards at 573-751-3403, or e-mail their concern to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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