Q: Can an employer require you do pre-work for the day, off the clock and not start paying until a first assignment?
It is a mobile service, we drive a company truck to clients houses and preform the service. Previously we clocked in at the start of the day (say 8:00 am) and started getting our trucks ready for our assigned routs. Now, we are to get our trucks ready and drive to the first assigned house and then clock in. Also at the end of the night we clock out at the end of the last house, regardless of the drive back to the shop.
A: Your question is complex and to answer it more directly would require more information. The answer may depend on whether you are an independent contractor or an employee. However, if you are an employee and your employer "requires" this work to be done, it may be a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act for them to not allow you to clock in. There is an instructive Ninth Circuit case named Ballaris v. Wacker Siltronic Corp. that helps explain the elements of this claim. I would strongly encourage you to consult with a knowledgeable employment attorney about this claim.
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