201501.09
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Employers Have to Pay Workers For All the Time They Spend on a Job, Even If They’re On-Call or Sleeping

On Thursday, January 8, 2015, the California Supreme Court clarified that the concept of “hours worked” under California law is not the same as it is under federal law, finding California law calls for a higher standard.   The case is Mediola v. CPS Security Solutions, Inc., No. S21704.

The case involved employer CPS Sec. Solutions, a security guard company that required its guards to remain on-call to provide security at construction worksites.  Part of each guard’s day was spent on active patrol, the hours for which they were paid.  Each evening, however, guards were required to be on-call at the worksite and to respond to disturbances should the need arise.  Guards were not compensated for on-call time unless they were actually responding to a disturbance or conducting an investigation.

The California Supreme Court held that, under the California wage order covering security guards, workers are entitled to compensation for all on-call hours spent at their assigned worksites under their employer’s control, even if the workers are allowed to read, shower, browse the internet, watch television, sleep, and engage in other personal activities.  The high court found that the fact that guards could engage in limited personal activities does not lessen the extent of CPS’s control.  It is the extent of employer control in this case that renders on-call time compensable hours worked.  The high court listed a number of facts indicating a high level of control, including the fact that the guards were obligated to respond, immediately and in uniform, if they were contacted by a dispatcher, among other things.

If you are an on-call worker, a “residential” employee, or otherwise feel you are not being compensated for all hours worked, you may have a case against your employer.  For more information about your rights, and a free consultation, please call us at (619) 342-8000.