Time Warner Defeats Call Center Wage Claims

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By Lisa Nagele-Piazza

May 2 — A former Time Warner call center employee in California can't proceed with his claim that the company violated federal and state wage laws by rounding work hours to the nearest quarter-hour, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled.

This is the first published opinion from a federal appeals court addressing the Labor Department's regulation on permissible rounding under the Fair Labor Standards Act. But district courts have frequently upheld neutral rounding practices.

Andre Corbin alleged he lost $15.02 in compensation over a 13-month period due to a new online time-keeping system's rounding. He alleged in a proposed class and collective action that “any” loss in wages due to rounding violates the FLSA.

But Time Warner Entertainment-Advance/Newhouse Partnership had a neutral time-keeping system that rounded up or down to the nearest quarter-hour without considering whether it benefited the employer or the employee, the Ninth Circuit said May 2 in affirming summary judgment for the company.

“Mandating that every employee must gain or break even over every pay period misreads the text of the federal rounding regulation and vitiates the purpose and effectiveness of using rounding as a timekeeping method,” Judge Jay S. Bybee wrote for the court.

Judges Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain and Stephen S. Trott joined the opinion.

For More Information

For more information, see Compensation and Benefits Library’s Fair Labor Standards Act: General Principles chapter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Lisa Nagele-Piazza in Washington at lnagele@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Susan J. McGolrick at smcgolrick@bna.com