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Time spent booting up computers is
compensable under the FLSA

Cadena v. Customer Connexx (9th Cir 10/24/2022)
http://case.lawmemo.com/9/cadena.pdf
Sent to Custom Alerts™ subscribers on 10/25/2022

Call center customer service employees brought a collective wage action under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) against their employer. The employees asserted that the time spent booting up and shutting down their computers was an integral and indispensable part of their principal duties, making the time compensable under the FLSA.

The workers provided customer service and scheduling to customers over a “soft phone,” operated only through their employer-provided computers.

The employees estimated the average boot up time was between 6.8 to 12.1 minutes, and the average shut down time was 4.75 to 7.75 minutes. After booting up the computer, an employee would clock in using a computer-based timekeeping system, and the employee would clock out using this same system before booting down the computers for the day.

The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the employer, finding that the time spent starting and turning off the computers was equivalent to the non-compensable time employees spend waiting in line to clock in or out on a physical time clock.

The 9th Circuit reversed and remanded.

Agreeing with the 10th Circuit, the court held that the workers’ duties could not be performed without turning on and booting up their work computers, and having a functioning computer was necessary before the workers could receive calls and schedule appointments. Accordingly, turning on the computers was integral and indispensable to the workers’ duties and was a principal activity under the FLSA. It therefore was compensable.

The court remanded to the trial court for consideration of whether the time spent shutting down the computers was compensable, whether the time spent booting up and down the computers was not compensable because it was de minimis, and whether the employer was not in violation of the FLSA's overtime requirements because they had no knowledge of the alleged overtime.


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