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Give Me A Break!

Thomas M. Lee

The California Supreme Court Recently Held That Employees Cannot Be “On-call” Or “On-duty” During Their Rest Breaks

On December 22, 2016, the California Supreme Court ruled that employers may not require their employees to remain “on duty” or “on call” during rest breaks. In Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., the plaintiffs were required to keep their pagers and radio phones on during rest breaks and to remain vigilant and responsive to calls whenever the need arose. The employer-defendant argued that the guards were simply required to keep their pagers and radio phones on in case an incident required a response and that most of the time the breaks were uninterrupted. The Supreme Court disagreed.

Under the law, an employee who is not provided their full 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked is entitled to one hour of additional pay per day and every day this occurs for up to four years. The Supreme Court has now confirmed that employees have the right to be completely off-duty during their rest breaks. In other words, they are free to leave the business premises and can ignore emergency calls, texts, and pages from the employer during their 10-minute rest breaks.

A full copy of the CA Supreme Court decision can be obtained here.

Please note that the information we are providing here in our website is not meant to create an attorney-client relationship nor is it to be relied on as legal advice. For a free legal consultation by phone with attorney Thomas M. Lee, please call us or send us an email.

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