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Pay for required desk time–even if no work is happening

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in Compensation and Benefits,Human Resources

Employers must pay for the time em­­ployees spend sitting at their desks if they aren’t allowed to leave—even if they aren’t doing any work.

Recent case: Gary worked as a front desk clerk at a 25-room motel. He lived on the premises and was required to sit at the front desk for an eight-hour shift. He was not allowed to relax in his adjoining room or other­wise leave the post.

The motel owner, however, only paid him for the busy hours when guests checked in. Gary wasn’t paid for the time he sat with nothing to do but wait. He sued, alleging Wage Code violations.

The court said he was owed pay for the entire shift, not just the time he actually worked. (Zhao v. Lincoln Park Motel, No. B252601, Court of Appeal of California, 2014)

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