A unanimous California Supreme Court recently ruled that employers in California must pay their workers for all work performed, including tasks that may take up only a few minutes before or after their regular work hours. The Supreme Court rejected a federal standard that allows employers outside of California to withhold the additional pay. The case involved a class-action lawsuit against Starbucks by a shift supervisor in Los Angeles who was required, after clocking out each day, to send daily sales data to corporate headquarters, set the store’s alarm, lock the door and walk co-workers to their cars. The supervisor typically spent four to 10 minutes on those tasks each day, a total of 12 hours and 50 minutes during 17 months of employment, worth $102.67 at the then-minimum wage of $8 an hour. “That is enough to pay a utility bill, buy a week of groceries, or cover a month of bus fares,” the Court said. “What Starbucks calls ‘de minimis’ is not de minimis at all to many ordinary people who work for hourly wages.”
Common Types of Off the Clock Work
Illegal off the clock practices can take a variety of forms. Common examples of cases we frequently prosecute include:
- Unpaid preparation work, such as setting up a restaurant before a shift, loading or warming up trucks, transferring equipment or preparing a worksite;
- Unpaid post-shift work, including clean up, finishing tasks that “should have” been completed during the shift, or returning to another site to drop off equipment;
- Unpaid ‘administrative’ work, like completing paperwork, meeting with management, reviewing patient charts or undergoing training done on an employee’s own time;
- Unpaid rework, such as when an employee is asked to redo a project or correct errors without pay;
- Waiting for work when none is immediately available.
- Employees required to obtain training and/or certification outside of regular work hours;
- Employees expected to show up 15 minutes prior to their shift to put on protective clothing, turn on the lights, set up tables, put signs out, etc.
- Employers who “round” time forward for employees who punched in early for a shift, and “round” back the time for those who punched out late after a shift;
Piece-Rate Pay Plans
California courts have said workers must be paid at least minimum wage for all hours worked in the payroll period, whether the compensation they receive is measured by time, piece, commission or another method. Employers who pay employees under a piece-rate pay plan frequently are in violation of California law. Typically, employers using a piece rate plan will fail to pay workers for time spent waiting around between jobs, or performing tasks that do not qualify for pay under the piece rate plan. This may include cleaning the garage, stocking shelves, or attending trainings. As well, employers using a piece rate plan frequently fail to pay for the time that employees spend on rest breaks.
If you are spending a long time waiting around for customers without getting paid for all time worked, your employer could be breaking the law. Seeking legal counsel is the best way to protect your rights. Our lawyers are familiar with the nuances of piece-rate pay in California, an employee’s rights in a piece-rate pay claim and how to deal with disputes involving employers. We represent both individuals and groups in class action claims involving piece-rate pay. Seeking legal counsel is the best way to protect your rights.
California Attorneys For Unpaid Work And Wages
The labor law lawyers at Righetti · Glugoski, P.C., can help you understand and pursue your rights to fair pay under state and federal law. From our offices in San Francisco, our firm helps individuals throughout California recover unpaid wages, vacation pay and sick leave pay. We also protect the rights of employees to overtime wages under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Call us for Consultation: No Charge
Please contact our San Francisco law firm and have an immediate, complimentary and confidential consultation with one of our skilled attorneys to discuss unpaid overtime. You may call 415-983-0900 or 800-447-5549. We highly respect your privacy and view all client consultations to be strictly confidential. We will not tell your employer you called.