Employees required to wait to receive assignments at the beginning of their workday must be paid while they wait.

In a federal case, employees of Akron Insulation and Supply Inc. had an official starting time of 7:30 a.m., but were required to report to the workplace earlier in order to load their trucks and receive their assignments. These employees did not always have work to do immediately, and often waited for assignments or for other crew members to arrive. The company did not pay its employees for this “waiting time.”

The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit was not persuaded by the employer’s argument that the employees were voluntarily clocking in early to socialize and have coffee. Rather, the Court focused on the fact that the employees were required to report prior to 7:30 a.m. to the benefit of the employer. The company was held liable for $95,000 in back pay.

This case was filed pursuant to the Fair Labor Standards Act, a federal statute establishing minimum wage, overtime pay, child labor and equal pay requirements. The Act requires that employers pay employees for all hours worked during a work week.

If you have questions about this case or want to discuss other wage and hour issues, contact Deborah P. Ecker.