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May 14, 2010
Employee's Commute Time Might Be Compensable Under Certain Circumstances

A recent court case, the court decided that an employer exercised sufficient control over the plaintiff to render his commute "hours worked." In light of that court decision, Laura P. Worsinger, Esq., presented some guidelines to consider in a BLR webinar titled "Reducing Overtime Costs: What You Legally Can—and Can't—Do to Keep Workers at Their Straight-Time Rates."

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Those guidelines included the following:

  • Employers need not pay employees for their commute time, unless the employer exercises control over the commute time.
  • It is a best practice to avoid controlling when an employee leaves for work, the route he takes, or the activities he must engage in on the way.
  • Employers requiring employees to drive company vehicles should create written policies or agreements regarding the use of the vehicles, with care towards avoiding too much control such that commute times are compensable.
  • Employers should carefully monitor pre- and post-shift activity to ensure that employees are not engaging in off-the-clock activities without pay, and they should consult with legal counsel to determine whether certain activities may fall under the de minimis exclusion.

Note: The case was Rutti v. Lojack (9th Cir. March 2010)

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

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