Starbucks worker brings claim for work carried out after he had clocked out
13 August 2018 by Neemah Ahamed
A Starbucks worker has successfully argued he was entitled to be paid for the time he spent closing the store after he had clocked out. Troester said he had routinely activated the alarm, locked the front door and walked co-workers to their cars. He stated these tasks required him to work an additional 4 to 10 minutes a day and sought payment for 12 hours and 50 minutes of work over a 17 month period at an hourly rate of $8 an hour. This amounted to $102.67. The case was initially thrown out by the Federal court on the basis it would be hard for an employer to track the additional time spent by a worker on additional tasks. However, the judge, in this case, said that employers could use technology or restructure work so workers are not required to carry out any tasks after they have clocked out.
The California Supreme Court recognised the time Troestor was not compensated for was significant and a few extra minutes of work each day could “add up.” It went on to say this could be used to “pay a utility bill, buy a week of groceries or cover a month of bus fares.” There is a fear this ruling could open the floodgates to additional lawsuits being brought by workers in restaurants and retail shops in California. However, based on the court’s ruling, decisions on whether workers should be compensated for additional time will be determined on a case by case basis. The court also said that it would not shut out all claims by employers who state the amount of additional work carried out was negligible.
Workers in the UK who are paid on an hourly basis are usually engaged through zero hour contracts. These workers are entitled to certain benefits such as statutory annual leave and national minimum wage. They may also accept work from other employers.
The distinction between an employee and a worker is nuanced. Employment contracts should state that an employer must offer an employee work and in exchange for pay they must carry out the tasks required. Workers, in contrast, may turn down work. Whether you are classified as an employee or a worker also depends on what happens in reality. For instance, whether you are required to wear a uniform or work a set number of hours may have bearing on whether you are in fact an employee and therefore entitled to more statutory rights. If you are concerned about your contract or would like to have it reviewed, please contact Neemah Ahamed on 01206 700113 or [email protected].
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