courtesy morgue file "mouse"A few years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court in IBP Inc. v. Alvarez, discussed an issue known in employment law circles as "donning and doffing".  In that case, the Court ruled that employees must be paid for the time they spend walking between the place where they put on and take off protective equipment and the place where they process the meat or poultry.

Now, several lawsuits are applying a similar notion to instances where employees are waiting for their computer to boot up.  In an article on today’s Connecticut Law Tribune, my colleague Joshua Hawks-Ladds discusses one aspect of it. 

Joshua Hawks-Ladds, a Hartford-based Pullman & Comley employment attorney, believes that the law is clear when it comes to disputes about wages and what actions should be compensated.   …

“I would think booting up a computer is an integral part of the workday, as well,” said Hawks-Ladds. “Generally, in our day and age, I would think that employers would lose the argument” that booting up isn’t part of the workday.

The issue of when the workday starts and ends will become more complicated as use of mobile technology expands among all workers, salaried and hourly.

The Workplace Prof blog posted something similar about this subject last week that’s also worth a look at.

Of course, this issue may be moot with the next generation of Windows offering a near instant-on bootup.   But until computers get faster, expect this issue to hang around for a few more years.