Wage And Hour Law: What California Employers Should Know About The Ninth Circuit’s Recent “Boot-Up” Time Decision
Recently, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit released an instructive decision in a key wage and hour dispute. In the case of Cadena v. Customer Connexx LLC, 51 F.4th 831, the appellate court overturned the decision of a lower court—ruling that “boot-up” time of call centers workers was compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). Here, our Riverside County employment attorney for employers provides a more detailed overview of the wage and hour decision from the Ninth Circuit.
Case Analysis: Cadena v. Customer Connexx LLC, 51 F.4th 831
Background & Facts
The FLSA is a federal law that protects the wage and hour rights of employees. The FLSA guarantees all covered workers a guaranteed minimum wage for the hours that they have worked. The core issue in this case is what constitutes “hours worked” for the purposes of the FLSA.
The defendant—Connexx—operates a call center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Call center employees were generally hourly, non-exempt workers. They were owed a guaranteed minimum wage and overtime pay for hours worked in excess of 40 per week. Upon arriving at the office, call center workers at Connexx were required to “boot up” their computer and log-in. They were not paid for this time.
The Procedural History
At trial, it was determined that Connexx call center workers spent between 6 and 12 minutes per shift on average booting up their computers. They spent another 4 to 7 minutes logging out at the end of the shift. The employees argued that this time should have been compensated under the FLSA. The employer countered that it was “deminimis” time that was not required to be counted or compensated as part of hours worked. The trial court ruled in favor of the employer, finding the FLSA did not mandate compensation for “boot-up” time.
The Ninth Circuit’s Decision
On review, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a significant part of the decision. The appellate court found that the employee’s principal duties—answering calls and assisting customers—could only be performed after they performed so-called “boot-up” work. As a consequence, this means that the “boot-up” time was integral to their core job duties. Relying on the “integral and indispensable” analysis, the appellate court ruled that “boot-up” time was compensable under the FLSA, but that time spent powering down a computer and logging off was not compensable.
The Implications for Employers
The court’s decision has implications for employers in California. It is imperative that all employers ensure that they are in compliance with wage and hour laws. Among other things, this means making sure that “integral and indispensable” boot-up time is properly recorded.
Contact Our Riverside County Employer Lawyer for Employers
At the Law Office of Karen J. Sloat, APC, our California employment lawyer has extensive experience representing employers in wage and hour claims. If you have any questions about “boot-up” time, we are here to help. Contact us today for a fully confidential, no obligation consultation. With a law office in Palm Desert, we represent employers in Riverside County and throughout the region.