Source: Harris poll.
Beware Off-the-Clock Work
It’s not always clear when a work shift ends, especially in the restaurant
industry. An overtime lawsuit involving night-shift workers who claimed
they weren’t paid for time they spent closing a Crystal, Minn., Chipotle is
a good reminder of the exposure employers face if they allow off-the-clock
In a setback for Chipotle, the U. S. District Court for the District of
Minnesota ruled that the case can proceed as a collective action on behalf
of the workers and all other similarly situated employees under the Fair
Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The suit, brought in 2014, alleged that Chipotle has a companywide
unwritten policy of requiring hourly employees to work off the clock and
without pay. The workers sued to recover allegedly unpaid overtime compensation and other wages.
An apprentice manager at the Crystal
were required to put in time
off the clock to keep labor
costs down. He said he
was directed to clock out
hourly night-shift crew
members before 12: 30 a.m.
even though they continued
paid for all time worked, the company’s
timekeeping system, called Aloha, automatically reset to the
next day at 12: 30 a.m.—which effectively clocked out any employee who
was clocked in when the reset occurred.
In 2014, the Minnesota district court conditionally allowed 23 current
and former hourly employees of the Crystal Chipotle to join the collective
action. Chipotle’s leadership challenged that decision, claiming that the
workers were not similarly situated—in other words, they were too different from each other to proceed as a group because they weren’t all subject
to a single company policy that violated the FLSA.
The court found, however, that the unpaid work in question was not so
varied as to warrant decertification and denied Chipotle’s challenge.
This case is still ongoing, but it shows that any variance from written
timekeeping policies can lead to collective-action lawsuits. So make sure
managers resist the pressure to allow off-the-clock work.
—Jeffrey Rhodes, an attorney with Doumar Martin
COURT REPORT Bullish on Hiring
Source: CareerBuilder’s 2017 Midyear Job Forecast.
Information technology (72%)
Health care (64%)
Financial services (62%)
47% of Millennials
36% of Generation X
of U.S. employers plan to hire full-time
employees from July through
December, up from 50% last year.
Top industries expected to match
or exceed the national average
for adding full-time workers in
the second half of the year.