The Supreme Court of California passed a judgment last week that the employees must be paid for activities done after their stipulated work timings. It is believed to be a victory for the labor advocates who think hiring hourly workers to invest more time working on unpaid tasks amounts to wage theft. A federal law named the Fair Labor Standards Act, usually allowed companies to avoid paying employees for time spent on activities that are too difficult to track.
The apex court stated that this federal rule does not apply to some off-the-clock works done by the employees. This came as a result of a six-year-long battle between Douglas Troester, a California worker, and Starbucks. Douglas sued the company for not paying him for closing tasks that he said took him additional 4-10 minutes after his shift each day. As per the court documents, during 18 months of Troester’s employment at Starbucks, the unpaid amount reached more than $100. Starbucks released a statement after the case was sent to 9th Circuit US Court of Appeals that ‘it was very unhappy with the decision and will wait as the appeal process continues before the 9th Circuit’. Starbucks was supported by The US Chamber of Commerce in fighting the case.
Shaun Setareh, one of the attorneys representing Troester said ‘the judgment was revolutionary and will be beneficial for every single employee working in the state’
The Supreme Court said ‘these small works done for few minutes each day surely adds up to a big amount as seen in this case and we will also check these short and brief activities done by employees which the employers do not find the reason to pay for’.