Terminix has settled a class action lawsuit against it in which trainees claim they were forced to work far in excess of 8 hours per day and 40 hours per week without overtime pay, rest breaks and meal periods that most California employees are entitled to. California labor laws on overtime and breaks are easily some of the most worker-friendly in the entire country. Prior to the settlement, Terminix changed its policy and reclassified its trainees as non-exempt – meaning they are now entitled to overtime pay.
Terminix had argued that termite inspections are sales activities that are exempt from overtime pay laws, but this argument didn’t fly with the judge who held that termite inspections are services, not sales pitches or product giveaways, and are covered by state labor laws requiring overtime for work beyond eight hours in a day or 40 hours in a week.
The company still faces similar overtime pay claims on behalf of its licensed inspectors who also claim that they were misclassified as salespeople, using the same rationale that the court has already rejected. The inspector overtime pay claims were not settled as a part of this case. Inspectors in other industries have brought similar claims for unpaid overtime – including pipeline inspectors working in the oil and gas industry.