Mesa, AZ asked in Employment Law, Civil Rights and Constitutional Law for Arizona

Q: I am a Limo driver. And in between jobs,I take my vehicle home. My Employer does not want me to do that!

My Employer wants me to remain in the vehicle. But will not pay me for the time that I am in between jobs. Which I feel that I am in my "FREE" time to go home till I need to go back out for my next job. Is that illegal?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: It is generally legal for an employer to require employees to remain in company vehicles in between jobs or tasks, even if the employee is not being paid during that time. Under both federal and Arizona law, travel time is only considered compensable work time under certain circumstances.

Some key considerations on the travel time pay issue:

• Travel between job sites during the workday is generally considered compensable work time. However, waiting time between tasks may not be compensable, at the employer's discretion.

• For employees that are free return home or otherwise use the travel time for their own purposes, the employer does not have to pay for that travel time.

• However, if the employee is required to remain with the vehicle containing equipment or materials and is restricted from freely using the travel time for personal means, it is more likely to be considered work time.

So in your situation, it would come down to how restrictive the limitation is that you remain with the vehicle and whether you are prevented from freely using that in between time for personal purposes. If it is very restrictive, there may be an argument the time should be compensable.

You can file a wage claim or speak to an employment lawyer to explore the argument further. But generally, Arizona law does provide employers discretion regarding unpaid travel time, as long as use of that time is not too restricted or primarily for the employer's purposes.

I hope this gives you a good overview of how both federal and Arizona law treats this type of unpaid travel and waiting time between tasks and jobs.

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