It was bound to happen sooner or later. A lawsuit has been filed over the employer’s requirement to check email after hours. More and more employers are issuing Blackberries and their equivalent to employees with the stated or implicit understanding that the employee check email after hours. Such a requirement runs right into the Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires that an employee be paid for time actually worked.
The FLSA has been around since the 1930’s. The federal statute has plenty of precedent. We know, for example, that if the employer requires attendance at meetings after hours, then the employer must pay for that time. So, why would "email" time be any different?
A Chicago police Sergeant has brought a class action lawsuit against his employer claiming that he was required to use his Blackberry on his own time. Sgt. Jeff Allen is seeking overtime pay, because he was required to use his city-issued Blackberry after hours. See report.