It may be the end of time rounding in California. Earlier in October of this year, the Sixth District Court of Appeal in Camp v. Home Depot U.S.A., Inc. (“Camp”) held that where an employer “can capture and [have] captured the exact amount of time an employee has worked during a shift” must fully compensate employees for all time worked, rather than rounded time, even if the rounding practice is neutral on its face.
Background to Camp
In Camp, the employer Home Depot used an electronic timekeeping system that recorded, to the minute, the time that employees had punched in and out for their shifts. Home Depot had a time rounding practice whereby employee time was rounded to the nearest quarter-hour. Plaintiffs Delmer Camp and Adriana Correa brought a class action against Home Depot, alleging unpaid minimum and overtime wages. As a result of the rounding practice, Camp claimed to have lost 470 minutes over the course of more than 4 years, while Correa was overpaid.
Home Depot moved for summary judgment, arguing that its rounding policy was neutral on its face and as applied in conjunction with past California cases, including the 2012 decision in See’s Candy Shops, Inc. v. Superior Court. The trial court granted Home Depot’s motion for summary judgment.
Ruling in Camp
The plaintiffs appealed the trial court’s decision. Since Correa was overpaid, her appeal was dismissed. As to Camp’s appeal, the Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s decision and concluded that Home Depot had not met the burden of proving that there was no triable issue of fact regarding Camp’s claim for unpaid wages. Furthermore, the rounding practice applied by Home Depot was impermissible.
Pursuant to Labor Code section 510, employees must be compensated for all time worked. Here, Camp was not compensated for over 7 hours of work, an amount of time that could not be considered de minimis (i.e., it could not be considered so minor or trivial as to merit consideration).
What Does the Ruling in Camp Mean for Employers?
The ruling serves as a reminder to employers with rounding policies to immediately review their policies and consider eliminating rounding policies altogether to avoid potential litigation. The Court of Appeal considered the practice of rounding in the age of technology that allows employers to capture the exact time an employee clocks in and out. With this consideration and invitation to the California Supreme Court to consider the issue, it is possible that the set of circumstances under which rounding is permissible will be narrowed, or rounding will be held to not exist at all in California. Therefore, employers should pay close attention to the Camp ruling.
For more information on the Camp decision, rounding policies and practices, and whether you should keep such policies and practices, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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