Employees can take CVS to court over unpaid online training time

A class action lawsuit brought by pharmacy technicians in federal court against the CVS drugstore chain highlights the risks employers take by “nickel-and-diming” their workers.

According to the lawsuit, which was filed by technicians in Pennsylvania and New Jersey on behalf of themselves and other CVS pharmacy technicians, the company violated state and federal wage laws and breached their contracts by failing to pay them for time they spent taking a mandatory online training course.

The technicians claim that while CVS let them do some of the coursework during work hours, they had to finish the courses at home on their own time. One of the technicians named in the suit said she was told she’d be paid for this time, but was never given proper timesheets to fill out. Another technician claimed that after repeated inquiries as to how he’d be paid for the training, the CVS pharmacist he worked for said he wouldn’t be paid at all.

CVS tried to get the class action thrown out of court, arguing that there was never any agreement that technicians would be paid for the online training time.

But the judge hearing the cases found that CVS’s own corporate policy suggested the trainees had to be compensated for the time completing the training.

The technicians still need to win in court. But surviving a motion to dismiss is a pretty high hurdle and CVS is now going to need to spend time and money fighting these claims. Even if the company wins at trial or settles before that point, it could end up costing far more than it would have to simply pay the technicians what they allegedly were entitled to in the first place.

If you are requiring your employees to undergo any sort of mandatory training that takes them off the clock, it’s important to talk to an employment attorney and make sure you’re not running afoul of any wage laws or contractual provisions that could ultimately ensnare you in a legal case.