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Required to arrive early but unpaid Oregon

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  • Required to arrive early but unpaid Oregon

    I work for a company that requires workers to follow "post orders" or be subject to write-ups, up to and including termination. Our post orders require we arrive for work 10 minutes ahead of schedule but we can not clock in until 7 minutes 'til the hour. We are required to clock in in an office area and walk a considerable distance to our work post, and we are required to be on that post by the exact hour scheduled.

    Upon being relieved at the end of the shift, we have the same long walk back to where we can clock out. If we clock out before 7 minutes after, we recieve no additional pay.

    So, it comes down to 14 to 17 minutes of additonal required work time that is unpaid.

    When I complained about being relieved late and donating time I was transferred to the work site where they send the "undesirable employees" and am now under horrible working conditions. So I don't want to raise the issue again until I have proof that what they are doing is wrong.

  • #2
    Sorry but the law is on the side of your employer here. The long walk to your duty post is not compensible working time.

    Why would you be paid extra for clocking out early?
    I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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    • #3
      It wasn't clocking out early. The exact times are 7:50 a.m. to 4:07 p.m. and I am paid from 8a.m. to 4p.m. PERIOD. On June 17th it was from 7:53 to 4:15 p.m. and I was paid 8-4.

      I guess if it's legal, I won't say anymore and abide by the rules. It just didn't seem fair to be required to clock in & out but not be paid by the times we clock in and out or even the time we are required to arrive for work.

      thank you for your time.

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      • #4
        The law permits the following:

        If you clock in at 7:53 you can be paid from 8:00 AS LONG AS if you clock in at 7:52 you get paid from 7:45.

        If you clock out at 5:07 you can be paid only till 5:00 AS LONG AS if you clock out at 5:08 you get paid all the way to 5:15.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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        • #5
          There is a difference though in clocking in times and when you actually perform work. If you are clocking in at 7:53 but are not actually performing any duty for your employer until 8, you get paid starting at 8. If you clock out at 4:07 but stopped performing actual work for your employer at 4, you get paid until 4.

          There was a court case a few years back that addressed this very issue. The employer put the time clock at the entrance but the employees had to travel a considerable way to get to their duty stations. The courts held that the time spent getting to the duty station was not "work time" and did not need to be paid. It is no different than the time spent commuting from home or walking in from the parking lot. Some employer campuses are larger than others so the time it takes to get to where you actually perform the work is irrelevant for payroll purposes. If I can find the case, I'll post it.
          I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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          • #6
            Agreed with ElleMD, and it was a lot more then one court case. Try hundreds/thousands of court cases, most of which were decided that way. This has been a part of the law that people argue about (a lot) since the 1940s. Meaning a whole lot of court cases. This area of the law is the Catholic equivalent of the old "how many angels can dance on the head of a pin" argument. The very short answer is the courts look to see if the actions are "integral to the job". The courts (flipping coins as far as I can tell) have historically decided that "donning and duffing" (putting on mandatory protective gear) is hours worked but putting on work clothes is not. Commuting is not hours worked , getting from the car to the work site is not hours worked. The "punch in, then walk to work station" is argued a lot. The courts basically flipped a coin and said "not hours worked". No great logic behind the decision, just an eeny-meeny-miny-mo sort of decision. The problem is that each decision that goes that way counts count as precedent and a lot of decisions have gone that way. People keep challenging the decision, but they need to come with a very specific "hook" to get around the general principal. You can find a few decisions say that walking to the workstation is hours worked, but there is always something very specific involved to justify that.

            That is the problem with most of the hours worked regulations (29 CFR 785.xxx). They tend to be 1940s, pretty much any issue that can be challenged has been challenged, and the courts historically tend to be pretty pro-employer in their rulings. Worse, every made decision is precedent and there are a lot of made decisions.

            Anyone who is really interested in this stuff, the American Bar Association has a book called FLSA that has something like 50 pages on "hours worked" court decisions with maybe 4 pages on this particular issue. You can generally find a court decision that says that "up is down" or anything else you want, but the other side can generally find hundreds of decisions going the other way. Often a Supreme Court decision or two, meaning game over.
            Last edited by DAW; 07-19-2011, 08:17 AM.
            "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
            Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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