Q&A with Courtney Davis Powell
Overtime may be due for checking
work email in nonbusiness hours
Q: Am I required to pay employees for reviewing their email on their smartphones during nonbusiness hours if they receive their work via smartphone?
A: The tension between use of smartphones during off hours and overtime is a clear example of technology outpacing the law. The Fair Labor Standards Act, with some qualifications, begins with the assumption every employee who works more than 40 hours in a workweek is entitled to overtime. Employees are categorized as exempt or nonexempt. If a nonexempt employee (one who is entitled to overtime) is checking her work email on a smartphone outside of normal business hours, she may be entitled to overtime.
A: Because the employee is likely performing compensable work for which they are required to be paid.