Offit Kurman Attorney Darren Weiss Quoted in the Sun Herald

Should workers be compensated for answering emails, texts, calls on mobile when off-the-clock?

As long as there have been work-issued mobile devices, businesses have turned a blind eye – or an inconsistent one – to a thorny issue underlying the unspoken expectation for employees with those phones and laptops: always be on call. Now federal labor regulators may revise a standard governing what amount of time should be considered too insignificant to compensate outside scheduled work hours. The increasingly entrenched idea of quickly answering an email, a text or phone call outside of the traditional workday has muddied the so-called “de minimis” rule. Established by the U.S. Department of Labor, the decades-old standard allows employers to disregard infrequent and trivial amounts of work that cannot practically be recorded for payroll purposes.

But regulators and courts never specified what duration of time is unworthy of compensation. This has led some businesses to largely ignore time spent on a mobile device outside of work hours. “They expect it, but they don’t compensate their employees for it,” said Darren Weiss, a labor and employment lawyer for Baltimore, Md.-based law firm Offit Kurman.

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Darren Weiss Darren H. Weiss practices out of the Baltimore office where he focuses primarily on labor and employment law. Prior to joining Offit Kurman, Mr. Weiss was an associate at a Baltimore/Washington law firm, where he concentrated on commercial litigation and corporate law. During his time there, Mr. Weiss represented clients in commercial and litigation matters in the medical care, food service, construction, mental health, technology, and retail industries, and regularly appeared before Maryland District Courts and Circuit Courts, as well United States District Courts. Before entering private practice, Mr. Weiss completed a clerkship with the Honorable Lenore R. Gelfman, Administrative Judge at the Circuit Court for Howard County. Mr. Weiss received his Bachelor’s Degree magna cum laude from Washington University in St. Louis and his Juris Doctorate cum laude from George Mason University School of Law. During law school Mr. Weiss served as Executive Editor on the George Mason Law Review, participated in Moot Court and Trial Advocacy, and had the opportunity to intern on both trial and appellate courts. You can also connect with Offit Kurman via Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and LinkedIn.


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