On October 26, 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a settlement with Hilton Reservations Worldwide, LLC, in which the company agreed to pay $715,507 in minimum wages and overtime pay to 2,645 current and former customer service employees in Texas, Florida, Illinois and Pennsylvania. The DOL determined that the company failed to pay workers for pre-shift activities such as booting up their computers, launching necessary programs, and reading work-related e-mails. This settlement reflects the DOL’s focus on pre- and post-shift activities by employees. The issue of pre- and post-shift work is not limited to booting up computers and reading e-mails -- any off the clock work-related tasks required of an employee can quickly add up and lead to employer liability.
For employers: if the time that an employee performs pre- or post-shift tasks is more than “de minimis” (meaning just a minute or two), make sure that your timekeeping system captures all of this time, or have a mechanism to adjust time where needed. Also, regardless of what safeguards you have in place, make sure to tell your employees (in writing) that they are not to perform any work activities off the clock. Not paying employees for all time worked can have a crippling impact upon your business. Please contact us for further guidance.
For employees: if you are not being paid for all time worked, please contact an attorney at Granovsky & Sundaresh PLLC. Unless you are an exempt employee, not entitled to overtime, you should be compensated for every minute worked, and time and a half for all hours worked over 40 in one week. Also, don’t take your employer’s word for it that you are “exempt.” Many employers misclassify workers to avoid their obligation to pay overtime. Please contact us for further guidance.