Rounding of employee time in California — even via neutral policy — creates risk following new appeal decision | Morgan Lewis

Although previous California rulings have approved neutral rounding systems, Camp vs. Home Depot USA, Inc. challenges this law if an employer can track employee work hours down to the minute. Therefore, at this round-time time — but who have the ability to record time to the minute — California employers should review their time-rounding policies and carefully consider the implications of this decision.

Despite evidence of neutrality in Home Depot’s time-rounding practices, the California Court of Appeals ruled that the plaintiff in warehouse raised a dispensable factual question regarding his claim for unpaid wages. Home Depot’s time tracking system records employees’ hours worked, and the hours worked by a named plaintiff showed that his hours worked exceeded the rounded time for which he was paid.

CASE BACKGROUND

in the warehouse,[1] The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed a trial court’s 2021 decision awarding summary judgment to Home Depot regarding the wage claims of one of the named plaintiffs, Delmer Camp. Home Depot used a time tracking system that tracked all time tracked by non-taxable employees to the minute. The system rounded the total shift times of each employee to the nearest quarter of an hour.

In March 2019, Camp filed a putative class-action lawsuit against Home Depot alleging that this rounding policy resulted in unpaid minimum wages and overtime. Home Depot sought summary judgment, arguing that its rounding policy was neutral in appearance, neutral in application, and otherwise lawful as determined by the California Circuit Court of Appeals See’s Candy Shops, Inc. v. Superior Court.[2] That See Candy The court ruled that a rounding policy is lawful if it is apparently neutral and “used in such a way that, over a period of time, it does not result in employees being inappropriate for the entire time they actually worked.” be remunerated.” A later Court of Appeals decision found that a rounding policy is lawful “if it results in a net excess of remunerated hours and a net economic benefit to workers as a whole”.

The district court in warehouse render summary judgment on the basis of those decisions. Home Depot’s evidence proved that employees overall benefited from rounding (they were paid better on rounded time than they would have been paid on clock).

DECISION OF THE APPEAL COURT

The Court of Appeals reversed in a ruling that disagreed with him See Candy and other similar decisions that allow rounding. The court relied on the wording of two recent decisions by the California Supreme Court, Comforter vs Starbucks and Donohue v. AMN Services, LLCto determine that workers must be paid for all hours worked. The court assumed that working time is working time, which may be the subject of further litigation.

In Camp’s own case, a comparison of clocked and rounded time showed a discrepancy of about seven hours of time over a period of about five years; The court found that this length of time raised a negotiable issue as to whether Camp was paid for the entire time he worked.

The court rejected Home Depot’s argument that calculating wages and reporting hours on payslips with rounded time is “easier” because “there is no provision in California law that prescribes arithmetic simplicity over paying employees for the… total hours worked preferred”.

Specifically, the court asked the California Supreme Court to address the validity of the rounding standard articulated therein See Candy in the limited circumstances “where the employer can and has recorded all minutes that an employee has worked” and then applies a rounding policy. The court also asked the state Supreme Court to generally “provide guidance on the accuracy of time rounding by employers, particularly in light of the ‘technological advances’ that are now occurring that ‘help employers keep track of time more accurately'” .

PRACTICAL IMPACT ON EMPLOYERS

That warehouse This decision increases the risk of litigation and potential liability for California employers who continue to use a time rounding system, particularly when an employee timekeeping system records time to the minute.

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