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California Supreme Court rules employees entitled to on call pay

Should you be paid for sleeping on the job? According to the California Supreme Court, the answer is a resounding yes -- unless, that is, your employer has an applicable wage order that expressly authorizes them to exclude compensable hours from your pay.

This decision comes after a group of security guards filed a class action lawsuit against their employer alleging that they were owed minimum wage and overtime pay for being forced to remain on the job site in company trailers while they were on call. The security guards could reportedly use the time they were on call for personal activities; however, they were not allowed to have their children or pets in the trailers during this time, nor have any adult visitors unless the security company received approval from their client. The guards were also required to notify the dispatcher if they wanted to leave the job site while on call and were told to remain within a 30-minute radius.

Although the security guards initially won the lawsuit, the security company filed an appeal with the California Court of Appeals. The Appeals Court responded with a ruling that stated that the security guards were entitled to compensation for the on call time; however, the security company could deduct eight hours of sleep time from the guard's pay.

Both sides subsequently appealed the Court of Appeals ruling, sending the case to the California Supreme Court, which ruled in the guards favor.

Employees may have legal rights if they didn't receive full compensation for their time spent on call.

Source:, "California Supreme Court: Employer must pay for on-call and sleep time" Cathleen S. Yonahara, Feb. 19, 2015

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