In a recent filing in the Western District of Pennsylvania, PNC has agreed to terms which would settle two pending federal cases, Herbin v. The PNC Financial Services Group, Inc., No. 19 Civ. 696 (W.D. Pa.) and Minor v. PNC Bank, N.A., No. 19 Civ. 114 (W.D. Mich.). Plaintiffs in both cases were former Customer Service Representatives (“CSRs”) for PNC in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Plaintiffs, on behalf of a nationwide class of CSRs, have alleged that PNC required CSRs to perform duties “off-the-clock,” including time spent preparing and shutting down computers, logging into necessary software programs, working through meal breaks, reading work emails while not on-shift, and more. Plaintiffs also alleged that PNC did not accurately track all of the hours which CSRs worked because CSRs were prevented from logging their time until they began to take phone calls. On average, the Plaintiffs estimated the CSRs worked between 1.5 and 3 hours off-the-clock each week. Plaintiffs, on behalf of the class of CSRs, alleged that PNC’s policies and actions violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and related state wage and hour provisions.
In order to resolve the suits, PNC has agreed to pay $2.75 million to resolve the two class and FLSA collective actions, and the settlement class includes anyone who was employed as a CSR by PNC anywhere in the United States between August 16, 2016 through the date of complete execution of the settlement agreement reached by the parties.
Unpaid preparatory work and work completed during scheduled breaks frequently serve as predicates for violations of federal and state employment statutes. However, with today’s technological innovations, instances of unpaid off-the-clock work, such as checking and responding to emails, are becoming more commonplace. Companies provide employees with technology and software which they can use even when not at work, and employers frequently encourage their employees to work anytime and anywhere, even if means completing tasks off-the-clock and outside of normal working hours. Under the FLSA, any situation in which an employer requires or simply permits employees to work is compensable time, and under federal and state laws, employees can recover back wages for this unpaid time.
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