On December 22, 2016, the California Supreme Court addressed , in Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., 2016 WL 7407328 (Cal. Dec. 22, 2016), whether California law requires employers to provide employees off-duty rest periods, and whether such requirement permits employers to require that employees remain on-call during rest periods. Specifically, the Augustus Court considered whether defendant employer’s requirement that its security guard employees carry radios during rest breaks violated California Law.
The Court held that, Labor Code § 226.7 and Wage Order 4-2001 “obligate employers to permit – and authorize employees to take – off-duty rest periods…during rest periods employers must relieve employees of all duties and relinquish control over how employees spend their time.” On-call rest periods were held to be inconsistent with this requirement and therefore prohibited since “one cannot square the practice of compelling employees to remain at the ready, tethered by time and policy to particular locations or communications devices, with the requirement to relieve employees of all work duties and control” during rest periods.
Augustus is a timely reminder for employers to review their meal and rest period policies to ensure compliance with the current state of California law.