Many employers have implemented COVID-19 safety protocols for their employees based upon various government regulations, orders, and guidance as well as genuine concern for the health and well-being of the employees. But, do those employers have an obligation to compensate their employees for time spent going through the employer's required COVID-19 safety protocols? One California employer is finding out the hard way.

Last month, a proposed class action was filed against Cytec Engineered Materials, Inc., a chemical manufacturer, in Orange County Superior Court alleging wage and hour violations of the California Labor Code.  The plaintiff alleges non-exempt employees were required to: (1) don personal protective equipment, including safety goggles, masks, face shields, and gloves; and, (2) wait in line to be screened for COVID-19 through mandatory temperature checks. Because these allegedly work-related tasks were uncompensated, The plaintiff claims that Cytec failed to pay minimum wages, pay overtime, and issue accurate wage statements because employees were not compensated for time spent on these allegedly work-related COVID-19 protocols.

Originally Published by Frankfurt Kurnit, November 2020

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