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New Court Ruling Changes On-Call Employment Laws

A recently decided class action lawsuit against CPS Security Solutions, Inc. will change the landscape of wage and hour law in California. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of security guards at the company of 1,500 employees.

Security guards for the company were required to have on-call shifts where they waited in an on-site, company trailer. If there was an alarm or emergency, then the employee could leave the trailer to tend to it. However, if he or she had a personal reason to leave the premises and was denied a replacement, then the employee could not leave.

The company only paid the on-call employees for a full, 8-hour shift if they worked at least three hours responding to calls. The employees' attorneys contended the guards were regularly under the company's control while they were on call because their movements were restricted. Guards had to report where they were going whenever they left, for a call or otherwise, could be recalled into the trailer had they left for any reason, and could not spend more than a half-hour away at a time.

The decision for the case may create further requirements for companies to pay their on-call employees. “This decision will ensure that absent an explicit exemption, on-call workers in any industry are entitled to payment for all their time,” said Golden Gate University law professor Hina B. Shah.

The outcome of this case can influence the way various other on-call personnel is paid. Other industries that can be affected are live-in domestic workers, firefighters or emergency crew, and agricultural employees.

Source: LA Times

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