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May 13, 2010
Overtime Rounding Practices Prompted Filing of Class Action Suit

In a BLR webinar titled "Reducing Overtime Costs: What You Legally Can—and Can't—Do to Keep Workers at Their Straight-Time Rates," Laura P. Worsinger, Esq., discussed overtime rounding rates and a class action law suit in which employees called Amazon.com to task for its rounding practices.

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What Is Overtime Rounding?

Overtime is just like it sounds: rounding shift start and end times to the nearest few minutes.

Some companies use this practice, because it is easier to calculate pay. Rounding is acceptable, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), as long as it is to the benefit of the employee.

Suit Filed Against Amazon.com

A former warehouse worker brought suit against Amazon.com for its overtime rounding practices. The employee accuses Amazon of rounding down shift start and end times, costing workers up to 15 minutes of overtime each day:

  • Warehouse workers were required to clock in and out before their scheduled start and end times, and the company then rounded their times to the nearest quarter hour.
  • If an employee clocked in 7 minutes or less before their scheduled start time, Amazon.com would not compensate the employee for the preliminary time prior to their scheduled start time.
  • Conversely, if an employee clocked out 7 minutes or less after their scheduled end time, Amazon.com would not compensate the employee for that post schedule work time.

Laura P. Worsinger, Esq. is Of Counsel with the Los Angeles office of Dykema Gossett PLLC. She has broad counseling and litigation experience and specializes in the defense of employers in individual and class actions involving wage and hour violations, misclassification, discrimination, wrongful termination, and other employment-related proceedings. She can be contacted at lworsinger@dykema.com.

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