Legal Question in Employment Law in California

I work in a correctional facility with three time clocks. Our post for our shift determines where we are supposed to clock in. Once we are clocked in we all meet upstairs for a briefing. There is one time clock downstairs but only a certain number of officers are allowed to clock in there depending on their post. Other posts are to clock in upstairs which requires waiting for a number of doors to be manually accessed by a central control location for security reasons. Waiting on these doors can take anywhere from two to five minutes. Due to this wait time certain officers must come earlier for shift in order to make it upstairs on time. The end of the shift is the same, certain officers must clock out upstairs and then wait on a number of doors to be accessed in order to leave. The company states the reason for the shift to be spread over three time clocks is so overtime is not accrued. I have presented the idea of moving one or both time clocks from upstairs, down to the first floor to avoid officers having to come in early and leave late due to timeclock locations and also so officers do not come in contact with inmates while off the clock. My idea was not implemented. Is this legal, and also is this a form of discrimination?

Asked on 2/04/13, 12:20 pm

2 Answers from Attorneys

Terry A. Nelson Nelson & Lawless

If, as I assume, you are in the guards union, you must grieve through them any valid on-job issue.

If there is no union in a 'private run facility' then the answer is that such delays and wait times are part of large staff companies, and are certainly not "illegal". Have you never seen news and movies showing employees waiting in line trying to get clocked in before the whistle blows??

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Answered on 2/04/13, 12:49 pm

Timothy McCormick Libris Solutions - Dispute Resolution Services

I remember having a series of meetings in the Chrysler Building in NYC. Very small elevators from the turn of the 20th century. So even having been upgraded to modern systems, they could only carry so many people at a time. We had to arrive 20-30 minutes before our 9:00 meetings to be sure to have time to wait in the elevator lines with all the employees in the building. You don't think the employees who had to get to the top floors had a legal right to clock in downstairs do you? The point is, however long it takes to get to your actual work at your employment premises is commute time. You don't have a right to go on the clock and then finish getting to work after you have clocked in, unless your employer chooses to make that possible for you.

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Answered on 2/05/13, 12:09 pm

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