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Mandatory Company vehicle California

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  • Mandatory Company vehicle California

    My company requires me to drive a company vehicle equipped with GPS to and from home, there is no provision for us to park our van and pick it up before and after each workday.

    However unless we have a repair call closer, our employer also requires us to "give" them 45 minutes to and from our house each day. My closest company facility is less than 10 minutes from my house and I actually start there every morning whether there is a call for service or not. I get service calls that are several hours away a couple of times a week but still start my day at the facility closest to me, this in my opinion is both silly and irresponsible but necessary because the GPS tracking requires us to not be able start our work day until the 45 minute regulation or the first stop of the day requirement is met.

    Wasn't there a case that covered this specific problem in the 1990's?

    Our employer will not count pages/phone calls we receive for service before the official work time starts as a start for the work day.
    Last edited by Biomed; 06-02-2009, 11:12 AM. Reason: spelling

  • #2
    You are raising several different issues.
    - Regarding phone calls and pages at home, it does not matter what your employer wants. Labor law is very clear that hours worked at home are the same as hours worked at a work site. But to be clear, a 15 second phone call is no more then 15 seconds actually worked.
    - Your commute issues are complicated. I can point you at a CA-DLSE opinion letter that is the only one I am aware of that discusses the sort of issues you raise. I am not sure if the opinion letter is sufficently on point to answer your question, but I have already looked at the CA-DLSE manual and this is as close as I can get you.
    http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/opinions/2003-04-22.pdf
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

    Comment


    • #3
      I'm not sure if I fully understand what you are saying, particularly about the 45 minutes part, so see if this is correct. Are you saying you are required to start work from the nearest company facility, ten minutes away from you, but that your company docks you 45 minutes commute time? If so, that does sound like it would be a violation of FLSA if you are indeed putting in 35 minutes of work in AM and PM for which you are not paid.

      I can think of some reasons why the company might require you to report to the cloest facility to officially start your work day, and your company is not required to pay you for your commute time from home to work. However, once you report to work, they are supposed to pay you.

      I'm not sure if this is the case you're thinking of, and I don't recall the citation, but the case I'm thinking of involved a chicken company (Perdue or Tyson?) where workers were required to report to work early and don specialized clothing before entering their work area. The court ruled that the doff/don time was indeed work time and should be compensated since this was being required by the company, which makes perfect sense to me.
      The only thing spammers are good for is target practice.
      No trees were destroyed in the sending of this message, but a bunch of electrons and phosphors have been a tad inconvenienced.

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      • #4
        I'll be more specific.

        I repair x-ray eqipment for a large hospital chain.

        Though we have routine maintenance that can be scheduled, we mainly respond to client calls all over Northern California. As a group we routinely work about 7-8 billed hours a day which equate to about 10 actual away-from-home hours. We rarely complain about the time we spend repairing equipment because this also means we have days where we are through by 3-4 O'Clock and we've always balanced those days against our 8-9 O'Clock.

        Recently our director installed GPS units in our company vehicles and went berserk when what he thought was actual hours worked didn't match against our time sheets, so he instituted a policy which stated that we WILL start at 8 am and finish at 4pm.

        Our customers call 24 hours a day, sometimes to just ask if we can be at their site first thing in the morning, sometimes to have us troubleshoot a problem over the phone and of course, sometimes to ask us to respond immediately.

        As I've stated in my first post, my normal start site is 10 minutes from my house and I normally go there first to establish a start time according to the GPS in my van, however if a customer calls at 6 in the morning asking me to respond immediately, according to our new policy, I have to give the first 45 minutes of travel time to my employer, therefore, I now have to wait until 8 am before I go to the nearest facility to establish a start time rather than give essentially 3 hours to the employer.

        We cannot drive our own vehicles and they won't allow us to park the vans at the closest employer owned facility. The tools in the van are owned partly by the employer and partly some of our own specialty tools.

        To top it off, I was questioned by my supervisor why I was at a clinic, three hours longer than what my time sheet stated, I asked him politely to not ask me this question twice but he insisted, I replied that I had a doctor's appointment after scheduled hours, and this in essence violated a stringent HIPPA policy that is strictly enforced in our State and people have been fired by my employer for violating HIPPA guidelines.

        Cute huh?

        Comment


        • #5
          Asking you about doctor's appointments does not violate HIPAA. HIPAA regulates who can give out your information - it does not prohibit people from asking.
          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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          • #6
            Because the clinic where I had my appoint is a single medical discipline, yes there is a problem, I had an appointment in a building that is known for one aspect of health care, therefore giving my supervisor cause to raise his eyebrows and maybe questions about my health.

            Dave

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            • #7
              That still doesn't make it a HIPAA violation. Nowhere in HIPAA does it say that your employer (who most likely is not even subject to HIPAA - most employers are not) cannot ask questions about your absences.
              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.

              Comment


              • #8
                Agreed. The following webpage has a good discussion on the subject.

                http://www.twc.state.tx.us/news/efte/hipaa_basics.html
                "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Agree, not a HIPPA violation. Look at it from the employer's perspective. If all anyone had to say was "dont ask about my 3 hour absence," employees would be out all the time for whatever reason.

                  The employer is also required to bring up FMLA if you have a medical condition that rises to the level of a serious illness by the FMLA definition. If they couldnt even know that you had a Dr's appointment, then they couldnt comply with FMLA laws.

                  It would have been far better for you to tell them ahead of time that you would be delayed returning because you had an appt. That would solve a lot of problems in the future.
                  I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
                  Thomas Jefferson

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                  • #10
                    I'll concede that if a HIPPA violation is possible it would be slim at best.

                    However ALL my appointments are already registered for PTO (vacation time) 6 months in advance the problem is that now we have a GPS on our van and management will just arbitrarily ask why we had our vehicle at a owned facility during our off time - Inavasion of privacy?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      It's the company's vehicle. They have every legal right to ask where it is when you are on your "off" time. If you're that concerned about it, take your personal vehicle to the appointment.
                      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                      • #12
                        Yes, the company has a right to know. It could be seen as using a company vehicle for personal use...if they wanted to look at it that way.

                        You seem extremely paranoid about your medical condition. Have you worked there a year? More than 1250 hours? How many employees within a 75 mile radius?

                        If you have a serious medical condition, it (and your job) may be protected under FMLA. However, you have to let the employer know about it and have your Dr fill out the paperwork. This is legal job protection.
                        I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
                        Thomas Jefferson

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                        • #13
                          Actually I really don't care about them knowing about Medical appointments, we are allowed to use the van for personal use and pay a monthly fee for personal use.

                          I believe personal use and personal time is just that: personal.

                          I'm more interested in the mandatory requirement for for us to drive the van home and the new requirement for us to "give" the company up to 1.5 hours daily if we don't stop at our closest facility first.

                          Heck I might be all wet in my perceived notion that when we are given no choice about vehicle usage, then I believe as soon as I turn the ignition key the time clock should start.

                          Dave

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                          • #14
                            Or just quite damp. Only the DLSE can tell you for sure.
                            I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

                            Comment

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