In Troester v. Starbucks Corp. (2018) 5 Cal.5th 829 the California Supreme Court answered a legal question sent to it from the Federal Court asking if the relevant wage order and statutes.  The Court held that California does not adopt the federal FLSA permitting application of the (federal) de minimis rule when the employer required the employee to work “off the clock” several minutes per shift.  The Court held that the state wage and hour rules do not permit the de minimis “Defense”.  Read more …

The case involved a closing store shift supervisor who spent between two and four minutes per shift between the time he clocked out and locked the front door.  The unpaid work totaled $102.67 over his 17 months of employment.

The Court also muddied the waters a bit stating that it does not decide whether there are circumstances where compensable time is so minute or irregular that it is unreasonable to expect the time to be recorded, in the facts presented the de minimis rule does not apply so Starbucks must pay wages for that time spent by the employee.

In California, the courts are to follow the state law if more protection/benefits are provided over federal standards/laws.  There are also two concurring opinions that leave it open that the de minimis doctrines still apply but we also need to consider modern applications such as the time to turn on a computer should not require compensation.