I read an article this morning on the TaxProf Blog discussing whether or not employers are required to compensate employees while their computers boot up. Apparantly there have been several companies (AT&T, UnitedHealth Group, Inc., Cigna Corp. and others) in the past year that have been sued because they are not paying their employees for the time it takes for their computers to boot up. The attorney who filed the suit claims that over the course of a week, these minutes add up and hourly employees are losing out.
Of course, the defense argues that the time spent while a computer does not constitute work. Employees are usually talking to friends, getting coffee or some other non-work related activity.
I can see both sides of the arguement here, but the real question I have is: How lousy is the work environment that employees would want to file a lawsuit over the time a computer boots up? Their is obviously a deeper issue here related to the overall level of job satisfaction that these employees have. Perhaps the Companies should try to figure out how to make their employees happy so that they can provide better service for their customers. Also note, just paying for the bootup time will not make them happy, it will just resolve this complaint. As I stated their is a deeper issue here.
Donna Bordeaux, CPA with Calculated Moves
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