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Starbucks Is Getting Sued For Not Paying Workers To Turn Off The Lights

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Tim Pearce Energy Reporter
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The world’s largest coffeehouse chain is defending itself in the highest court in California after an employee sued the company for compensation of unpaid labor, Bloomberg reported.

Douglas Troester, a Starbucks shift supervisor in Burbank, Calif., sued his employer six years ago seeking payment for time he spent closing down, arming alarms and locking up the store after clocking out. After hearing the case two years ago, the San Francisco federal court of appeals requested a judgement from the California Supreme Court. The supreme court will hear the case Tuesday.

Starbucks’ defense, supported by national and state business groups, is that the alleged injustice is too small and ramifications for businesses across the country too great to be reasonably acted on.

“There could be innumerable lawsuits over a few seconds of time,” Starbucks said in a court filing in 2017, according to Bloomberg. “The ‘de minimis’ rule is one of common sense and everyday practicality.”

The total amount of time Trouster claims to have racked up amounts to a day and half of unpaid minimum wage labor, about a $120 value, TheStreet reported.

California attorneys representing large retailers and businesses in the state are advising their clients to hand out back pay to employees. Lawyers are warning that companies should act to prevent potential similar lawsuits and then construct policies to ensure employees are payed for every minute of work.

“The Troester case could potentially add billions of dollars to the already high cost of operating a business in the state of California,” Attorney Charley Moore, founder of online legal service Rocket Lawyer, told TheStreet.

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