Plaintiffs, a class of 69 installation and service technicians of home security systems, sued their employer, Brink?s, under the Minimum Wage Act (MWA), RCW 49.46, for failing to pay wages for time ?spent ?driving ?company ?trucks ?from? their homes to the first jobsite, and back home from the last? jobsite? (collectively ??drive ?time?).?? ?Brink?s paid the technicians for drive time only if the site was located more than 45 minutes from both their homes and the Brink?s office, and then only for drive time in excess of 45 minutes. ?The trial court granted summary judgment to the plaintiffs, awarding back pay, pre- and post-judgment interest at? ?12%,? ?attorney?s? ?fees,? ?and? ?costs.?????? The Washington?? Supreme? ?Court?? affirmed?? in?? all respects. ?It held that under WAC 296-126-002(8), the technicians were ?on duty? at a ?prescribed work place? under the MWA because Brink?s controls the use of their trucks, and requires technicians to wear seat belts, obey traffic laws, not park haphazardly, lock their vehicles at all times, and never carry alcohol or passengers, or engage in personal activities like errands. ?Further, they receive their assignments at home and must spend time writing them down and mapping the route in advance.?? They are ?on duty? while they drive, and are subject to being rerouted to other jobs.? ?And, while driving, technicians are at ?a prescribed work place? because driving the trucks is ?an? ?integral ?part ?of ?the ?work? performed.? Trucks carry the necessary tools and equipment for installation and service, per company policy technicians must fill out paperwork in the truck (or a customer?s home), and must keep their truck ?clean, organized, safe, and serviced.? ?Moreover, technicians report to the company office only once a week for a meeting and to refill supplies. Apparently a jury trial was held on damages? at which plaintiffs presented expert testimony calculating drive times with the software program. ?Because ?the ?jury ?did ?not ?have ?to ?rely ?on ?opinion or discretion? to determine damages, the claim? was ?liquidated ?so ?pre-judgment ?interest was proper. ?The Court also held that violations of the MWA are contractual, not tortious, in nature? ?so? ?the? ?12%? ?interest? ?rate? ?of? ?RCW 10.52.020(1) is applicable, and affirmed without discussion the attorney fees and costs, and awarded fees on appeal to plaintiffs. ?Stevens v. Brink?s Home Sec., Inc., 169 P.3d 473 (2007)
Driving Time to and from Work for Service Technicians is Compensable under MWA; Prejudgment Interest Rate on MWA Judgment is 12%.
Dec 18, 2007