O.T. Isn't as Simple as Telling Time

September 20, 2007

Daniel McCoy, a litigation partner in Fenwick & West's employment practices group, was recently quoted in The New York Times on the grey area of "overtime."

Historically overtime simply meant extra money for extra work. These days there's nothing simple about it. With more employees adopting an "always on" mentality, more red flags are being raised about who is exempt and who gets paid.

In fact, lawsuits brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act by employees claiming they had been illegally declared ineligible—and demanding back overtime pay—have increased by 50 percent. Of these, most take the form of large class-action suits.

Yet, as commutes grow longer (and technology better), and workers use time on the train to tap on their laptop or BlackBerry, the exceptions are starting to define the rule.

What if a message comes over a BlackBerry or cellphone when you are technically off the clock? "BlackBerry time is work time," said McCoy. "It absolutely counts."

Read more about how technology is changing overtime in the entire article in The New York Times: