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Don’t court lawsuit by allowing early clock-ins

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in Compensation and Benefits,Employment Law,Human Resources

Beware if you allow employees to clock in early, but tell them not to start work before their scheduled start times. If early clock-ins are routinely unpaid, there may be a class-action lawsuit brewing.

Recent case: Edward Nicholson, a forklift operator for UTI Worldwide, sued over alleged unpaid time. He claimed the company allowed employees to clock in up to 15 minutes before their scheduled shifts began, but then routinely rounded off those extra minutes.

Nicholson sought to represent all fork­lift operators, and claimed that supervisors often told them to begin work before their shifts. The company claimed employees were told not to work before their shifts officially began.

The court said the case could proceed on behalf of all 1,250 of the firm’s forklift operators, based in large part on the rounding policy. (Nicholson v. UTI World­wide, No. 3:09-CV-722, SD IL, 2011)

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