California Supreme Court Rules Security Guards Must Be Paid for On-Call and Sleep Time

 
Wednesday, January 14, 2015
 
On January 8, 2015, the California Supreme Court issued a decision holding that the on-call hours for security guards who work 24-hour shifts constituted compensable hours worked. Further, the court ruled that the guards’ employer could not exclude “sleep time” from the guards’ 24-hour shifts.  Mendiola v. CPS Security Solutions, Inc., No. S212704, California Supreme Court (January 8, 2015).

The guards were provided with a trailer where they could spend their time while they were on call but they were not allowed to have pets, children, or alcohol in their trailers. If a guard wanted to leave the site while on call, he or she had to wait for a reliever, stay within a 30-minute radius of the site, and carry a pager.

The California Court of Appeal ruled that the guards are entitled to compensation for their "on-call" hours because the employer "substantially restricted" the guards' ability to engage in their personal activities. With regard to the 24-hour shifts, however, the Court of Appeal disagreed with the trial court and held that the employer may deduct 8 hours of “sleep time” from the 24-hour shifts, as long as the sleep time was uninterrupted, the guards had a comfortable place to sleep, and there was an agreement between the employer and employee that such time would be excluded.

The California Supreme Court agreed with the Court of Appeal’s conclusion that the guards’ on-call hours were compensable. 
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