LA Judge Awards Security Guards $90M in Class Action Rest Breaks Lawsuit
August 4, 2012
According to recent Los Angeles employment law news, a Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge awarded a $90 million judgment last month in a wage and hour lawsuit brought by 15,000 current and former security guards--who sued their employer, a private security company, for rest break violations.
The rest break violation lawsuit was originally filed in July 2005, alleging that ABM Security Services of New York violated California labor law by refusing to give rest breaks to off-duty security personnel at their commercial buildings. The security company reportedly claimed that it required all employees to remain on call with their pagers and cell phones turned on, even while they were taking their legally required rest breaks periods.
In his ruling, Judge John S. Wiley stated that if an employee is on-call for duty, that employee is not on a rest break. According to Wiley, in order for rest breaks to be legally valid, workers must be released from all duties.
Under California's Industrial Welfare Commission Wage Orders, employers must allow non-exempt employees to take break and rest periods in the middle of each period of work. The rest periods are defined by the total number of hours worked per day, and must be a minimum of ten minutes for every work period of four hours. According to the security guards' attorney, these breaks should allow workers to be free from all work duties and should not require them to keep their pagers, radios or cell phones on.
Judge Wiley ordered ABM to pay back wages, interest and penalties to the 15,000 former and current security guards, in the amount of $90 million.
AMB reportedly plans to appeal, disagreeing with the judge's interpretation of California labor law in regard to rest periods.
If you have experienced California rest break violations in Orange County, California, our Santa Ana-based labor and employment legal team can help. To set up a complimentary meeting, please contact Vincent Howard at 1-800-872-5925 today.
Security guards awarded $90 million in rest breaks case, Los Angeles Times, July 11, 2012
Security Guards in Class-Action Lawsuit Awarded $90M, NBC 4, July 11, 2012
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