Lawyers and Settlements; April 6,2013
San Francisco, CA: Donning and doffing lawsuits usually refer to situations in which employees are required to put on or take off extensive safety gear and uniforms outside of work hours (either before or after shift, or at the start and end of breaks). Depending on the equipment worn, this off-the-clock work can add up to 30 minutes or more of unpaid wages per shift. Similar to donning and doffing complaints are allegations that companies - especially those involved in call center operations - require employees to spend 15 minutes or more before and after shifts and during unpaid break times logging onto computer systems and databases. These lawsuits are known as egress and regress lawsuits, involving tasks required to prepare for the job and then end the job at the close of the shift.
This time spent accessing computer systems is considered vital for work, and often adds 30 minutes or more per shift, but employees are often not paid for their time spent logging on to various systems. But that time can add up over the course of a week, month and year, and it is all unpaid time that an employee is working. Furthermore, if that unpaid work occurs outside an eight-hour workday, the employee could be missing out on overtime pay, increasing the amount he or she is owed.
Employees argue in wage and hour lawsuits that because such activities are a required part of their job, they should either occur within the paid workday - meaning at the start of a shift they log on to their computer system - or they should be paid overtime if these activities take place outside of the eight-hour workday.
Complicating matters for some employees are computer systems that automatically record their shift as over even if they are still on the phone with customers or dealing with work-related issues. Call center employees typically must stay on the phone with a customer or client until the issue is dealt with, even if that takes them past their scheduled shift. But if a computer records their shift as being over - even if they are still helping the customer - they may not be paid properly for that time. If they must then log out of a variety of computer systems and databases, they could be working unpaid for a lengthy period.
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