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Court Finds That See’s Policy of Rounding Time Did Not Violate Overtime Laws


Many companies which use a time clock for their employees to punch into and out of at the beginning and end of their shifts also have a system of rounding the employees’ time. For example, if an employee punches in at 7:58am, the clock would round that to 8:00am. If the employee punches out at 5:02pm, the clock would round that to 5:00pm. While two minutes may not seem like much, it can add up over time.
Pamela Silva, an employee of See’s Candy Shops, was concerned about just that and filed a class-action overtime complaint against her employer. See’s used Kronos, a software system which recorded employees’ work hours. Employees would punch in at the beginning and end of their shifts and were required to record their lunch breaks. Although Kronos records the exact minute the employees punch in and out, See’s used the nearest-tenth policy to round out the time. The nearest-tenth policy is when a company rounds to the nearest tenth of an hour (every six minutes) beginning with the hour mark.

See’s also had a grace period system whereby employees could voluntarily punch in up to 10 minutes after the beginning of their shift or punch out up to 10 minutes before the end of their shift. The time was to be used for personal activities only, not for work.
The class was certified on two issues:
1) Whether the class members suffered a loss of compensation when they punched in and out of the Kronos time-keeping system and their time was rounded to the nearest tenth of an hour, and
2) Whether class members suffered a loss of compensation when they clocked in and out of the Kronos time-keeping system during the “grace period”.

See’s insisted that their nearest-tenth rounding policy was consistent with federal and California law. The trial court dismissed this defense and See’s appealed.
The Court of Appeals found that there is no California law which specifically allows for time-rounding policies. However, the Department of Labor has a regulation under the Fair Labor Standards Act which permits employers to use such policies under certain circumstances: “For enforcement purposes this practice of computing working time will be accepted, provided that it is used in such a manner that it will not result, over a period of time, in failure to compensate the employees properly for all the time they have actually worked. The Court of Appeals thereby ruled with See’s.

The attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center are investigating unpaid overtime claims against large corporations and retailers such as Hewlett-Packard, Wal-Mart for misclassifying employees as managers, forcing employees to work off the clock, altering time sheets and otherwise failing to pay workers for overtime and other wages. If you are the victim this practice call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online.

The lawyers at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have decades of experience fighting for wage earner’s rights. We have a team of overtime attorneys who focus on nationwide class action lawsuits and work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and prosecute claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Arlington Heights and Darien. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Kane and Cook Counties.

Our Schaumburg and Lisle overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers misclassify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.

The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have not been paid for the overtime hours that they worked. If you believe that you are owed overtime wages, contact one of our Chicago class action attorneys by phone at (312) 869-4095 or through our online form.