More and more overtime cases are appearing on the scene based on off the clock work or employees who are contacted by their employer regarding work when they are not at work. It’s just too easy with cell phones in everyone’s pockets. This leaves the court with the job of analyzing and defining compensable time.
When analyzing compensable time, courts examine whether the employee is: waiting to be engaged or engaged to wait. If they are waiting to be engaged, they are not working, but if they are engaged to wait, they are being paid to be at the ready. In some cases, the managers on duty carry the majority of the blame for requiring or allowing contact with employees who are off the clock without knowledge of the limitations presented by the compensable time issue. They aren’t aware of where the compensable time “line” in the sand is and they unwittingly step over it regularly. This situation can leave the Employer facing employment law violations allegations.
Most agree that the majority of employers are not purposefully attempting to get work out of their employees for no payment. They aren’t deliberately trying to violate employment law. The statutes are simply hard to comply with from a technological perspective. This makes it very important that employers provide their management and supervisory staff with training regarding compensable time and what that means for overtime-eligible workers.
To protect against potential litigation, employers should track off-track hours. If the work can be tracked and therefore quantified, it probably wouldn’t qualify as “de minimis” and should result in the required compensation. As California has more state level laws regarding wage and hour issues and particularly enforcement of these laws, the issue is seen even more regularly in California courts.
If you have questions about compensable time or if you are not being paid overtime wages for hours you work while off the clock, please get in touch with one of the experienced California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal Nordrehaug Bhowmik De Blouw LLP today.