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Jury Awards $90 Million to Security Guards in Class Action Over Unpaid Break Time

Under California law, if an employer fails to provide non-exempt employees meal and/or rest breaks, the employer may be liable to pay the employees an additional hour of pay for each work day that the meal or rest period was not provided. The employers are generally required to relieve their employees of all duty during employees’ meal or rest break. On July 6, 2012, a Los Angeles jury awarded $90 million to security guards in a class action over unpaid break time. Defendant employer had a company-wide policy and practice that required its security guard employees to remain on call at all times, including during the employees’ rest breaks. Plaintiff Class of 15,000 security guards claimed they were not provided off-duty rest breaks as required by California Labor Code Section 226.7, because they were required to remain on call, and therefore, were not relieved of all duties. Plaintiff security guards were required to carry cell phones, radios, pagers or otherwise be available at all times and were subject to being called back at any time. Accordingly, Plaintiff security guards successfully argued that “on call” is not “relieved of all duties” as required by California law. Many employees work under conditions similar to those at issue in this case, and without proper compensation. If you feel that the wage and hour rights of you or someone you know is being violated by an employer, it is important to consult with an employment law attorney as soon as practicable.