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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pulling Employees Down by Their Bootstraps

Apparently, lawyers have noticed a new type of lawsuit: employees are suing their employers for not paying them while they boot-up and power-down their workstations.

Some of the corporations which have faced these suits include AT&T Inc., UnitedHealth Group Inc., and Cigna Corp. Employees filed class-action suits against said companies, claiming they were not paid for the - get this - 15-30 minutes spent booting and shutting down their computers. Over the course of a work week, this tallies-up to several hours of lost wages.

While 15-30 minutes sounds bizarre at first, I'm pretty sure the employees are rounding-up and counting the total times. After all, my home computer takes a good 2-3 minutes to fully load; it starts right up if I disable all the programs. This could account for updates, AV checks, and other technical matters most likely set to run at either start-up or shut-down. And it also seems fair that this would amount to several hours throughout the course of a week.

While opponents say employees spend this time doing non-work-related activities, such as socializing and smoking, the argument is pretty ridiculous. If I had to wait more than a minute or two for my workstation to bootstrap, I would certainly smoke a cigarette or whatever, but I would also (just as often) have to deal with non-computer, work-related matters - filing papers, organizing my desk, and more. Also, who is to say the conversation or other "socializing" is not work-related? Shouldn't you get a few minutes to acclimate yourself to your work environment and day?

Interesting, but equally stupid.

© C Harris Lynn, 2008

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