November 26, 2008
15-30 Minutes to Boot Up Work Computers Basis for Frivolous(?) Employee Lawsuits
The National Law Journal is reporting that several companies are being sued by their employees because they are not being paid for the the 15- to 30-minute time it takes to boot up their computers at the start of each day and to log out them at the end of the day. Ah, 15-30 minutes, is that before or after they remember to plug in the computers to a power supply?
Add those minutes up over a week, and hourly employees are losing some serious pay, argues plaintiffs' lawyer Mark Thierman, a Las Vegas solo practitioner who has filed a handful of computer-booting lawsuits in recent years.
Management-side attorney Richard Rosenblatt, a partner in the Princeton, N.J., office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius who is defending a half-dozen employers in computer-booting lawsuits, sees it differently.
He believes that, in most cases, computer booting does not warrant being called work. Having spent time in call centers observing work behaviors, he said most employees boot the computer, then engage in nonwork activities.
In California, hundreds of customer service representatives at call centers are suing Cigna Corp., claiming that they were denied pay for the time spent booting up computers before and logging out after their shifts at the call centers. Hazel v. Connecticut General Life Insurance Co., No. C08-03552 (N.D. Calif.).
In Georgia, AT&T and BellSouth Corp. are also battling computer-booting claims, filed by sales consultants and associates who claim, among other things, that they were denied pay for time spent booting up and shutting down computers before and after their shifts. Brooks v. AT&T, No. 1:07-cv-3054 (N.D. Ga.).
In Missouri, UnitedHealth Group also is battling a proposed collective action that claims it failed to pay employees who work from home for time spent booting up their computers. Wolfert v. UnitedHealth Group Inc., No. 4:08-cv-01643 (D. Mo.).
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Booting time of 15-30 minutes would really mean a lot if combined in a week. If not included in employee's working hours then it should be compensated after all such activity is essential and for the benefit of the employer.
Posted by: BloggerPal | Nov 28, 2008 8:39:58 PM
It is presumptuous to call a valid complaint a frivolous lawsuit if the issues are meritorious. In cases like these, perhaps the courts are in a better position to decide.
Posted by: LAlawblogger | Nov 27, 2008 10:25:14 PM