Recent Trends in Defending Wage and Hour Claims
Employees that bring wage claims against their employers for unpaid overtime need to be ready for the employer to pull your web browser records. Virtually all desk jobs have a computer sitting right atop of it. Computer use in the workplace is just so prevalent nowadays that it was just a matter of time before employers started to monitor their employees. They do this with keylogging or spy software. With this software, the employer can see what their employees are doing on their computers while at work. This enables the employer to calculate, to the minute, the number of hours that an employee is working and the number of minutes (or hours) that the employee spends on non-work related internet browsing.
Representing mostly employees, the last thing I want to hear from my opposing defense counsel is that he has records to show that my client was spending the bulk of his time surfing the internet. While this factor alone does not mean my client didn’t work overtime, it certainly casts a shadow of doubt on their claim. Many overtime claims involve working off the clock (i.e., there are no time records — perhaps just the employee’s word against the word of the employer). In this case, credibility is huge. If my client is claiming that he worked 10 hours off the clock each week, and the employer has proof that he was surfing the internet from 4:00 p.m. to quitting time, my client’s credibility takes a major hit (along with the value of his case).
On the flip side, if the employee doesn’t spend the employer’s time surfing the internet, and is actually using his computer for work, there can be records that show the extra off the clock hours. By way of example, many companies require their workers to log in and out to a company intranet. These events are time stamped in the computer and this data can frequently be discovered. So if the employees time and pay records show 40 hours, but the computer time stamp records show 46 hours from the log in/log out times, then that can bolster the employee’s claim that he worked more hours than what he was paid.
Either way, employees must be aware that, just because their supervisor may not “see” them goofing off, there may be records that show them doing something other than work. Big Brother may be watching!!!
Robert S. Norell, Esq. ROBERT S. NORELL, P.A. 300 N.W. 70th Avenue, Suite 305
Plantation, Florida 33317. Broward County: 954-617-6017 Miami-Dade County: 305-405-WAGE (9243)