Time Spent Booting Up Computers Is Compensable, 9th Circuit Rules

Author: Michael Cardman, XpertHR Senior Legal Editor

October 28, 2022

Time spent by call center employees booting up and shutting down computers that were needed to perform their work duties is compensable under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

In Cadena v. Customer Connexx LLC, a group of call center employees sued their employer seeking to be paid for the 7 to 12 minutes they spent logging on to their computers at the start of each shift and the 5 to 8 minutes it took them to log off and boot down their computers at the end of each shift.

The FLSA requires employers to pay employees for any activities (other than meal breaks) that occur between the first and last principal activities of their workday.

The call center employees' principal activities were receiving customer phone calls and scheduling appliance pickups. But principal activities also can include any activities that are "integral and indispensable" to the main principal activity.

"Because [the employees] cannot perform their principal duties - receiving customer calls and scheduling - without a functional computer, booting up their computers at the beginning of their shifts is integral and indispensable and therefore compensable under the FLSA," the 9th Circuit held.

The court's holding is limited to workers using employer-provided computers to perform their duties while working at a central work site. The 9th Circuit stressed that it was not ruling on whether the same time would be compensable if the employees worked remotely or used their personal computers to perform these duties.