The Law Regarding Payment for On-Call Hours

There are a lot of California employees out there who are required to be on-call or work on-call hours. What is an on-call employee? An on-call employee is a one who either stays on the employer’s premises during off hours and can called to work for an immediate reason or emergency, or one who does not stay on the employer’s premises, but will still be called in to on work during their off hours by the employer during their off hours for an immediate reason or emergency. Generally, employers are required to compensate employees while they are on-call. If you are required to remain on-call during off hours, and you may not be getting compensated, you should contact an overtime lawyer.

Mediola v. CPS Security Solutions, Inc., (2015) 60 Cal.4th 833

The defendant, CPS Security Solutions, Inc., was a security company that hired security guards to remain on-call at construction sites and provide security. While on-call, the security guard resided in a trailer on the construction site. When the security guard was not on-call, he or she would be patrolling the construction site. CPS paid the guards hourly while they were on duty patrolling the construction site, however the defendant did not pay guards while they were on-call unless there was an emergency that required the security guard to act, or if the security guard was still on-duty and was unable to be relieved. The security guards filed a class action alleging minimum wage and overtime violations for defendant’s failure to compensate them for the on-call hours.

On-Call Hours Are Generally Compensable

The case eventually worked its way to the California Supreme Court. To determine whether on-call hours should be compensated, the California courts apply the following test. On-call hours are compensable if the employee spends the time primarily for the benefit of the employer and its business. The factors to determine if the employee is spending his or her time primarily for the benefit of the employer and its business include, but are not limited to the parties’ agreement, degree to which the employee is free to engage in personal activities, whether there was an on-premises living requirement, and whether there was heavy restrictions on the employee’s movements. Considering the security guards were required to live on the construction site while they were on-call, not allowed to leave the premises while on call, and were not engaging in personal activities if required to remain at the construction site, the Supreme Court held that the security guards’ should be compensated by the defendant for working on-call hours.

If You Are An On-Call Employee And You Are Not Being Compensated, Call a Wage and Hour Lawyer

At the end of the day, Mediola v. CPS Security Solutions, Inc. reassures California employees that the state courts are still on the side of the little guy. If you are required to be on-call as a condition of employment, and you feel your employer is not compensated you fairly or properly, then call a wage and hour lawyer immediately to evaluate your situation.

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