United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
S. Shah, United States District Judge
Michael Meadows brings this action against his employer,
defendant NCR Corporation, for unpaid wages in violation of
the Fair Labor Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et
seq., and the Illinois Minimum Wage Law, 820 ILCS §
105/1, et seq. NCR moves for summary judgment. For
the following reasons, NCR's motion is denied.
judgment is appropriate if the movant shows that there is no
genuine dispute as to any material fact and the movant is
entitled to judgment as a matter of law. Fed.R.Civ.P. 56(a).
A genuine dispute as to any material fact exists if
“the evidence is such that a reasonable jury could
return a verdict for the nonmoving party.” Anderson
v. Liberty Lobby, Inc., 477 U.S. 242, 248 (1986). The
party seeking summary judgment has the burden of establishing
that there is no genuine dispute as to any material fact.
See Celotex Corp. v. Catrett, 477 U.S. 317, 323
(1986). A court must view all facts and reasonable inferences
in the light most favorable to the non-moving party. Apex
Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 735 F.3d 962,
965 (7th Cir. 2013).
has worked for NCR as a Customer Engineer for over eight
years.  ¶ 8. He is a non-exempt employee who is paid on
an hourly basis. Id. Although Meadows acknowledges
that NCR has written policies deeming all work time as
compensable time and prohibiting employees from failing to
record their work time, he explains that in practice, the
policies are routinely ignored. [165-2] at 26, 95:3-96:7.
Each of Meadows's territory managers have instructed him
not to follow NCR's written policies, id. at 26,
97:5-10, and they have encouraged him to work off-the-clock,
id. at 23, 83:24-84:1.
NCR's Written Policies
requires CEs to read and periodically review the NCR U.S.
Customer Engineer Human Resources Handbook so that they are
familiar with and can abide by NCR's policies. [165-3] at
3-4. If CEs have a question about “the content or
interpretation” of the policies, the handbook directs
CEs to contact their managers or to consult with “HR
Central.” Id. at 4. These written policies
provide specific details about how CEs should schedule their
assigns each CE a “regular work shift, ” which
territory managers have the discretion to change based on
staffing needs, workload, and other factors. Id. at
7. At least thirty minutes before a CE's scheduled shift,
the CE must check in with the “Operations Center”
and update his whereabouts. Id. at 8. The handbook
states: “In total, these activities should take no more
than one or two minutes to complete.” Id.
Beyond this requirement for CEs to “briefly”
check their mobile devices to determine the location of their
first assignment, CEs are prohibited from performing any work
before the start of their scheduled shifts. Id. at
15. The first thirty minutes of a CE's commute to his
first customer worksite is not compensable; accordingly, the
handbook prohibits CEs from performing work (taking calls or
answering emails for longer than one or two minutes) during
that time. Id. at 9.
time during their shift, NCR expects CEs to take an unpaid
lunch break. Id. at 11. Since a CE's schedule
“flexes to meet customer needs, ” NCR asks CEs to
use their “best judgment” in deciding when to
take a lunch break during their shift. Id.
Immediately before taking a lunch break, CEs must inform the
Operations Center that they are doing so, and CEs must update
their status via their mobile devices to indicate that they
are taking a lunch break until a specified time. Id.
CEs may not work during their unpaid lunch break; NCR
requires CEs to contact their managers if they are being
interrupted during their reported lunch break Id. at
11, 15 (“If you receive a business call, text or email
from NCR or a customer during your lunch break, you are to
delay your response until you are back on the clock; you have
the right not to answer or respond to it until that
addition to repairing point-of-sale machines in the field,
 ¶ 2, CEs also have to perform any number of
administrative tasks during their shifts: answering phone
calls, responding to emails, inputting details about service
calls, processing and ordering parts, attending mandatory
training, and recording their hours. [165-3] at 14, 15. The
handbook makes clear that the time CEs spend completing these
duties is compensable work time, and that CEs should fit such
duties into their regular work shift “to meet
productivity goals.” Id. at 14, 15 (“You
may need to ask your supervisor to schedule ‘admin
time' for you to accomplish tasks requiring an internet
connection, because you are not permitted to perform these
tasks at home outside of your regularly scheduled
CE completes his last call of the day, the handbook directs
him to stop working, unless otherwise instructed by his
manager. Id. at 9. At the end of a shift, CEs must
check in with the Operations Center and (1) close out any
completed incidents, (2) move any active calls that continue
into the next work period to an available CE on the next
shift, and (3) update their whereabouts as unavailable.
Id. at 8. The last thirty minutes of a CE's
commute from his last worksite to his home is not
compensable; as a result, the handbook prohibits CEs from
performing work (taking calls or answering emails for longer
than one or two minutes) during that time. Id. at 9.
CEs may not resume working once they arrive at their homes.
Id.; see also Id. at 15 (“Unless you
have received prior approval from your supervisor, you are
prohibited from processing parts at your home.”).
though “NCR expects CEs to work within the work
schedules set by their managers, ” CEs are nevertheless
required to report any time they spend working, even if they
worked outside of their scheduled shift and even if they
worked overtime without prior approval. Id. at 15,
18. The handbook expressly prohibits supervisors from
“encouraging or even suggesting” that CEs should
work off-the-clock, but ultimately NCR places responsibility
with the CEs for accurately reporting the time they spend
working. Id. at 15.
Meadows's Off-the-Clock Work
assigned Meadows a “regular work shift” from 8:00
a.m. to 4:00 p.m.,  ¶ 8, but Meadows says that NCR
required him to work before and after that time, and that NCR
did not compensate him for that additional work, [165-1]
¶¶ 10-15;  ¶¶ 3, 6-13. When asked
about his allegations that NCR requires him to perform
off-the-clock work in reference to NCR's written
policies, Meadows acknowledged that the handbook prohibits
off-the-clock work, but he explained that each of his
territory managers have directed him to work off-the-clock.
[165-2] at 22, 79:24-80:4; id. at 23,
83:21-84:4; id. at 27,
daily basis, Meadows says he performs about 1.3 hours of
unpaid work for NCR.  ¶ 38. Specifically, he spends
ten to forty minutes per day on pre-shift work, id.
¶ 21, and ten minutes per day on post-shift work,
id. ¶ 35. Additionally, Meadows says he is not
compensated for the time he spends working through his lunch
break each day (NCR's timekeeping system deducts a
thirty-minute lunch break from his daily hours, and Meadows
submits his daily hours without manually editing the
deduction to reflect the time he spent working through his
break). Id. ¶ 28;  at 7.
least thirty minutes before his shift is scheduled to begin,
Meadows says that NCR requires him to read his emails.
[165-1] ¶¶ 11, 14;  ¶¶ 3, 6. He
checks emails from his cell phone to get general instructions
and to make sure that he does not have to re-prioritize
particular service calls. [165-2] at 13-14, 45:1- 46:2. The
number of emails Meadows receives daily varies, but
typically, he receives emails from his manager or someone at
the Operations Center who is overseeing dispatching.
Id. at 14, 46:2-20.
his shift, Meadows says that NCR also requires him to review
work orders from his cell phone and to communicate with the
Operations Center. [165-1] ¶¶ 11, 14; 
¶¶ 3, 6. Some days, Meadows inherits a work order
from another CE, which may require him to call the Operations
Center to find out where the part for that work order is, and
then plan to pick up that part before driving to that
worksite. [165-2] at 15, 50:7-24. Next, Meadows says he is
required to map out his route for the day, update his
estimated times of arrivals for each assignment, and update
his status as “traveling, ” “dispatch,
” or “DS.” [165-1] ¶¶ 11, 12, 14;
 ¶¶ 3, 6-7. In order to develop a route to
follow from one worksite to the next, Meadows looks at his
queue and then he can determine ETAs for each customer.
[165-2] at 14, 47:19-48:1; id. at 15, 51:1-5.
Sometimes he may need to restock his company-owned vehicle
with various parts, depending on what he needs at the
worksites that day.  ¶ 8.
a.m., Meadows is in his company-owned vehicle commuting to
his first assignment of the day. Id. ¶ 8. It
typically takes Meadows thirty minutes to commute to his
first worksite. Id. ¶ 25. Despite the fact that
Meadows is not compensated for the first thirty minutes of
his commute, he often spends this time working because he
makes or receives calls from the Operations Center in order
to understand where the parts are located for specific
service calls, or he commutes to pick up or drop off parts at
FedEx. Id.; [165-2] at 17, 60:20-23. For the
remainder of his shift, Meadows responds to service calls,
commutes between worksites, and performs other related
activities; his schedule is very tight and it usually does
not allow him enough time to take a lunch
break.  ¶ 7; [165-2] at 25,
90:21-91:2; see also  ¶ 9 (explaining that
he rarely gets an uninterrupted lunch break due to the high
volume of work orders and his manager's requirement that
he answer emails and phone calls from his manager and the NCR
control tower immediately).
Meadows completes his last job in the field, he clocks out
for the day, per NCR policies, even though he is often
required to perform additional work: dropping off parts at
FedEx, unloading his company car, ordering parts for his
assignments the next day, entering his time for payroll
purposes, undertaking additional recordkeeping, and commuting
home. [165-1] ¶¶ 10, 15; 
¶¶ 8, 21;  ¶ 11.
never complained to or through anyone at HR Central that he
had been required to work off-the-clock. [165-2] at 28,
105:2-6. He attempted to communicate with HR Central via a
hotline many years ago about a different issue, id.
at 28-29, 105:14-106:2; but, he explained that when an NCR
employee leaves a message with HR Central, they do not
usually return the employee's call. Id. at 28,
105:19-22. None of Meadows' managers have questioned him
about his time entries, refused to approve his time entries,
or told him that he needed to change his time entries.
Id. at 25, 90:11-20. In fact, Meadows has worked
overtime without prior approval, and as far as he knows, NCR
has not denied him payment for that work. Id. at 25,
91:23-92:3. Meadows says that when he recorded his time
accurately, NCR paid him the for work that he performed
before and after his shift, as well as during his lunch
break.  ¶ 36.