Increasing Trend: Overtime Lawsuits For Off-The-Clock Work on Mobile Computing Devices

A Chicago police offer has filed suit against the city seeking overtime pay after being forced to answer emails outside of work. Employees across many industries are increasingly expected to respond to work emails in off hours. The issue arises when checking your phone for email moves from a convenience allowing you to briefly check on things at the office without needing to go to work to an expectation from the employer that you will be available 24/7.  From the AP story:

"Everybody can relate to this because people are being asked all the time these days to work for free and they are being told to work for free using their phones," attorney Paul Geiger said.

Earlier Wednesday, attorneys for both Allen and the city told a judge they had agreed on the wording of documents that will be sent to other officers asking if they want to join the lawsuit.

According to the suit, police brass pressured subordinates in the department's organized crime bureau to answer work-related calls and emails on their BlackBerrys, and then also dissuaded the officers from filing for overtime.

"A culture has developed where police officers feel compelled to work for free in order to possibly gain a promotion and/or maintain their coveted assignment," according to a plaintiff filing.

I predict more and more of these types of cases as our computing habits become increasing mobile in nature.

Read the full AP Story here.

Copy of the Court's Opinion Denying City's Motion to Dismiss.