People spend a few minutes doing little things all day long. At the end of the day, they often wonder where the time went. A little time spent waiting for traffic lights, watching commercials or playing just one more game on one's phone adds up to many minutes or even hours. If a Tennessee worker spends the day doing tasks that take just a few minutes, it may not be such a big deal, unless those tasks are completed off the clock. One state has clarified a wage and hour dispute regarding off-the-clock assignments at a national coffee chain.
Starbucks is no stranger to employee complaints about unfair treatment, and in this case, workers at one branch of the franchise say their employer made them clock out to complete closing tasks. The employer claimed to be following federal law which allows workers to perform duties off the clock if the time spent on the task is too trivial to count. However, one employee fought for six years to get the state's highest court to agree with his interpretation of the law.
The man claims the work he was forced to do off the clock sometimes took up to 10 minutes to complete. Over his 17 months of employment, this added up to over $100 he feels Starbucks owes him. The California Supreme Court ruled in the employee's favor that the federal law of trivial time does not apply to this situation. The case now goes back to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit.
Many wonder how this interpretation of federal law will affect future wage and hour disputes. However, employees may be grateful for any ruling that protects them from wage theft. With the help of an attorney, Tennessee workers can fight for their right to fair wages if their employers take advantage of them.