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BOP NEWSLETTER • February 2023

Minnesota Now Prohibits Discrimination Based on Hair Style?

On February 1, 2023, Minnesota Governor Tim Walz signed a law commonly referred to as the “CROWN Act.” The new law, House File (HF) 37, revises the Minnesota Human Rights Act (MHRA) by expanding the definition of race to be “inclusive of traits associated with race, including but not limited to hair texture and hair styles such as braids, locs, and twists.”

Workers Should be Paid for the Time Spent Booting Up Computers?

This is the takeaway from an October 24, 2022 Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Cadena et al. v. Customer Connexx LLC, which will directly impact employers in California, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, Montana, Idaho, Hawaii, and Alaska, but could ultimately reach employers nationwide.

In their decision, the Ninth Circuit concluded that the agents’ duties could not be performed without turning on and booting up their work computers, and having a functioning computer was necessary before employees could receive calls and schedule appointments. It noted that the issue here was not booting up the computers to access the company’s timekeeping system. Rather, it was the necessary access to the programs that allowed the call center agents to perform their principal activities of answering customer calls and scheduling pickups. Accordingly, turning on the computers was integral and indispensable to the agents’ duties and is a principal activity under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

As a result, employers should consider reviewing the activities employees may need to undertake prior to beginning their principal work and whether they are integral and indispensable to their work – and therefore could be considered compensable under federal law.