California Court of Appeal Confirms That Time Rounding Is Permissible

By Michael Kun and Aaron Olsen

Agreeing with the recent federal district court opinion in our case Alonzo v. MAXIMUS, Inc., 832 F.Supp.2d 1122, 1126 (2011), the California Court of Appeals has confirmed in a case against See’s Candy that California employers may round employees’ time entries so long as the employer’s rounding policy does not consistently result in a failure to pay employees for time worked.

In Alonzo, a federal district court granted summary judgment in favor of our client MAXIMUS, Inc. on the plaintiffs’ time rounding claims. The Alonzo Court explained that the federal standards regarding time rounding apply to employees’ time rounding challenges brought under California law. In the case against See’s Candy, the plaintiff urged the California Court of Appeals to reject the federal court’s analysis in Alonzo. The California Court of Appeal, however, stated, “We agree with the Alonzo court. In the absence of controlling or conflicting California law, California courts generally look to federal regulations under the FLSA for guidance…. Assuming a rounding-over-time policy is neutral, both facially and as applied, the practice is proper under California law because its net effect is to permit employers to efficiently calculate hours worked without imposing any burden on employees.”

Given the number of employers throughout California that have time-rounding policies, the California Court of Appeal’s decision to adopt the reasoning from the federal court in Alonzo is another welcome development for employers. Indeed, plaintiffs’ counsel likely had a number of time rounding class actions lined up to file in the event the Court of Appeal held that time rounding policies were unlawful. Those class action complaints have likely found their way to the recycling bin.

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