A state Supreme Court’s ruling for or against an employer resolves that matter for good in that particular state. However, employers with offices all over the country need to be sure their employment practices are in line with both federal legislation and the laws of each state in which the employer does business.
CPS Security Solutions is one such nationwide company that recently faced two class action wage and hour lawsuits in California. Both lawsuits alleged security guards working for CPS were improperly denied wages for sleep time and on-call time.
CPS provides security services to clients all over the country. According to the lawsuits, the guards allegedly worked in 24-hour shifts. Eight hours of each shift were paid, eight hours were classified as unpaid “on-call” time and eight hours were classified as unpaid “sleep time”. The guards were allegedly required to stay in on-site trailers that were paid for and maintained by CPS.
CPS allegedly allowed guards to have visitors during their on-call time, with the permission of the client, but pets, children and alcohol were allegedly not allowed. If a guard wanted to leave the premises during her on-call time, she allegedly needed to notify her dispatcher so she could be relieved by another guard. If no one was available to take over, the guard was allegedly not permitted to leave.
Even when guards were able to leave, they were allegedly required to keep a pager or phone with them and be able to return to the site within half an hour. Since this severely restricted where employees could go and what they could do during their on-call time, the lawsuits alleged it was time for which the guards should have been paid.
California labor law determines whether workers should be paid for their on-call time based on how much control the employer has over the workers during their on-call time. When taking these factors into consideration, the California Supreme Court ruled that CPS exerted enough control over its guards during their on-call time that California labor law required the guards to be paid for that time.
Eight hours of unpaid sleep time for employees who work shifts of 24 hours or longer is a standard practice in many industries, especially security. This practice is allowed under federal law, but not under California law. The California Supreme Court ruled that such sleep agreements are not permissible under California Wage Order 4.
The Court therefore ruled that employees who worked 24-hour shifts for CPS needed to be paid for all the time they were required to remain on site, including both on-call time and sleep time.
The California Supreme Court’s ruling resolves the matter for guards working for CPS in California, but CPS has offices all over the country. Settlements or rulings in one state have been known to affect employer policies all over the country. Although these lawsuits dealt specifically with California labor law, it is possible that CPS is violating local wage and hour laws in other states.
Our lawyers are currently investigating possible claims by CPS employees in states other than California. If you work, or have worked for CPS and believe you were illegally denied any wages, contact one of our attorneys today to see if you think you might have a valid claim. You can call us at (312) 869-4095 or contact us online by filling in the form at the side of this blog.
The Chicago class action attorneys at the Chicago Overtime Law Center have three decades of experience fighting to help employees who are victims of wage, overtime and tip theft by their employers. We have a team of Chicago unpaid overtime lawyers who concentrate on prosecuting state and nationwide class action lawsuits. Our attorneys work out of Chicago and Oak Brook offices and pursue claims for workers all over the Chicago area including Schaumburg and Palos Hills. We protect unpaid workers who haven’t received overtime throughout the Chicago area including in DuPage, Lake, McHenry, Kane and Cook Counties.
Our Wheaton and Geneva overtime lawyers are intimately familiar with the issues that arise during wage claim litigation, and we know the laws that govern overtime cases well. Many employers mis-classify employees as being exempt from overtime laws and pay workers salaries instead of hourly wages in order to avoid paying them overtime. Some employers mistakenly classify employees as exempt and others intentionally do so in order to circumvent the law. In either case, workers do not receive the wages they should, and a lawsuit may be the only way to recover their earned wages.
The Chicago Overtime Law Center is based in Chicago, and represents clients throughout the country who have unpaid overtime and other employment right claims.