Ninth Circuit Case on Rounding of Employees Time
In the Corbin case the employer rounded time off to the nearest quarter hour. As stated by the Court, "This case turns on $15.02 and one minute. $15.02 represents the total amount of compensation that Plaintiff Andre Corbin (“Corbin”) alleges he has lost due to his employer’s, Defendant Time Warner EntertainmentAdvance/Newhouse Partnership (“TWEAN”), compensation policy that rounds all employee time stamps to the nearest quarter-hour. One minute represents the total amount of time
for which Corbin alleges he was not compensated as he once mistakenly opened an auxiliary computer program before clocking into TWEAN’s timekeeping software platform. $15.02 in lost wages and one minute of uncompensated time, Corbin argued before the district court, entitled him to relief under the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq., and various California state employment laws. The district court disagreed and granted summary judgment to TWEAN. The court determined that because the company’s rounding policy was neutral on its face and in practice, TWEAN’s policy complied with the federal rounding regulation, see 29 C.F.R. § 785.48(b), and Corbin’s $15.02 in lost wages did not present an issue of material fact. The court also held that the one minute of uncompensated time Corbin spent logging into an auxiliary computer
program before logginginto TWEAN’s timekeeping software was de minimis as a matter of law."
Time Warner, using a software program know as a "soft phone system", tracked each employee's hours by having the employee essentially log in to their phone system. The employee had to do this to be allowed to start receiving phone calls at the call center where their job of course required them to respond to customers over the phone. For example, an employee who clocked in at 8:07 a.m. to begin his workday would see his wage statement reflect a clock-in of 8:00 a.m., rounding his time to the nearest quarter-hour and crediting him with seven minutes of work time for which he was not actually on the clock. Similarly, an employee who clocks out at 5:05 p.m. to end her workday would see her wage statement reflect a clock-out of 5:00 p.m., again rounding her time to the nearest quarter-hour and deducting five minutes of work time for which she was actually on the
clock. At the end of each pay period, TWEAN’s non-exempt employees are paid in accordance with these rounded figures.