Security guards entitled to compensation for on-call hours

CPS Security Solutions, Inc., employed on-call guards to provide security at construction worksites. Part of each guard’s day was spent on active patrol. Each evening, guards were required to be on call at the worksite and to respond to disturbances should the need arise.

While on-call, the guards were required to reside in onsite trailers provided by CPS.  An on-call guard who wanted to leave the worksite had to first notify a dispatcher where he or she would be and for how long. The on-call guard would only be permitted to leave if another employee was available for relief.  If no reliever was available, the on-call guard was required to remain onsite, even in the case of a personal emergency. Even if relieved, an on-call guard was required to stay close enough to the site to be able return within 30 minutes, and had to be available by pager or telephone.

The CPS security guards were paid hourly for time spent patrolling the worksite, however, they received no compensation for on-call time unless they were required to perform certain work duties during their on-call period, such as responding to an alarm or conducting an investigation.

The CPS security guards filed suit, alleging that CPS’s on-call compensation policy violated minimum wage and overtime obligations.

The California Supreme Court concluded that the security guards’ on-call time constituted hours worked within the meaning of California’s labor laws and was subject to minimum wage and overtime requirements. The  Supreme Court ruled that security guards are entitled to compensation for on-call hours spent at their assigned worksites under their employer’s control, including sleep time.

Mendiola v. CPS Security Solutions (SC S212704 En Banc 1/8/15)