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US call center workers can seek overtime for booting up computers

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Call center workers in the United States can seek overtime wages for the time it takes to log on and shut down their computers at the start and end of their shifts, a court has ruled.

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The case stems from a dispute between two call center workers and their company last year in the U.S. state of Nevada. The employees claimed they were entitled to overtime wages for the time it look to log into and shut down their computers, suing their employer Customer Connexx, and its parent company JanOne.

Attorneys for the workers argued that log-in and shutting down processes could add as much as 30 minutes to their clients' daily schedule.

Last year a lower court ruled in favor of the Las Vegas-based companies, with the judge saying that the log-in procedure was the “electronic equivalent” of waiting in line to clock-in.

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But the case was later revived, leading to the federal appeals court ruling on Monday.

Leah Jones, an attorney for the workers, told Reuters the ruling “clarifies that employers must pay employees for tasks their employees are required to do, and must do, to accomplish their job duties.”

“Certainly, no employee should have to provide their labor to an employer without receiving proper wages,” she said in an email.

The ruling on Monday was only applicable to employees who exclusively speak to customers digitally on company computers. The court did not say whether the ruling was applicable to staff working remotely or from a personal computer.

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