Washington Supreme Court Holds That Drive Time to First Jobsite From Home & From Last Jobsite to Home in Company-Issued Vehicle May Be Compensable "Work Time" Under Washington Minimum Wage Act


Breaking Developments In Labor and Employment Law

In Stevens v. Brink’s Home Security, Inc., a class of installation and service technicians (“Technicians”) filed suit against their employer, Brink’s, alleging that the time they spent driving company-issued vehicles from their homes to the first assigned jobsite, and from the last

jobsite back home, was compensable work time under Washington’s Minimum Wage Act (“MWA”). On October 18, 2007, the Washington Supreme Court agreed, affirming the trial

court’s summary judgment in favor of the Technicians.

Under an optional “Home Dispatch Program,” Brink’s issued its Technicians pick-up trucks bearing the Brink’s logo and equipped with the tools they needed to perform their work. The Technicians were permitted to keep these vehicles at their homes. Technicians who chose this option would receive their daily assignments via voicemail or hand-held computer and would dispatch to their first jobsite from home, rather than traveling to Brink’s Kent office in their own vehicles to retrieve a Brink’s truck, and later would return directly home after completing work at the last job site. Although Brink’s paid Technicians who dispatched from its company office in Kent for drive time between the office and their first and last jobsites, it did not pay those who participated in the “Home Dispatch Program” for drive time between their homes and their first and last jobsites. The class action filed by the Technicians challenged Brink’s practice of characterizing this drive time as noncompensable “commute time.”

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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