More and more employees are blaming their companies for not including the time they spend booting and shutting down their computers into their pay. The people who are accusing their employers declare that to get their computers booted takes half an hour. Keeping in mind that another half hour is needed to shut down (they practically sit in front of the computer and watch it switch off). But we are actually facing an IT support problem here.
In fact, during the past year, several companies, such as AT&T Inc., UnitedHealth Group Inc. and Cigna Corp., have been defeated by employees claims that they were not paid for the 15- to 30-minute task of booting their computers at the start of each day and logging out at the end.
According to a lawyer Mark Thierman, a Las Vegas solo practitioner, if you add those minutes up over a week, you will find that hourly employees lose some part of their pay. Moreover these are hourly employees who get a minimum wage they are not being paid for a good half-hour a day. Besides, while the computer boots up employees start doing paperwork or making calls.
However, there is another side to this issue. Management-side attorney Richard Rosenblatt, a partner in the Princeton, N.J., office of Morgan, Lewis & Bockius shows support for a half-dozen employers in computer-booting suits. He believes that, computer booting cannot be called work. The examination on work behaviors revealed that most employees boot the computer and after that involve themselves in activities that have nothing to do with their work. Let's say they go have a smoke, talk to friends, drink coffee or have tea.
Still, the lawsuits proceed smoothly. In California, hundreds of customer service representatives at call centers are blaming Cigna Corp., for refusing to pay for the time spent booting up computers before and logging out after their shifts at the call centers. While in Georgia, AT&T and BellSouth Corp. are also battling computer-booting claims, by sales consultants and associates stating that they were denied pay for time spent booting up and shutting down computers before and after their shifts. In Missouri, UnitedHealth Group is also fighting with a collective action which declares that it failed to pay employees who work from home for time spent booting up their computers.
A recent New York Times article points out that computer producers are introducing machines that provide access to e-mail and Web browsers in less than 30 seconds while the rest of the machine boots into action. Another solution could be Splashtop, fast-booting software by the Device VM company that may help get critical PC applications up and running in seconds.