Security Officers Can Now Remain On-Call During Rest Breaks; What This Means for All California Employers
Security Officers Can Now Remain On-Call During Rest Breaks; What This Means for All California Employers

If your workforce includes private security officers, then new Assembly Bill 1512 should come as great news to you.  Back in 2016, the California Supreme Court issued a controversial decision called Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc. which held that ABM’s security officers were not afforded legally compliant, off-duty rest breaks as long as they were required to carry pagers and respond to emergencies on an “as needed” basis.  Citing the “public interest that security officers are able to respond to emergency situations without delay”, California’s new AB 1512 abrogates Augustus as it applies to security officers only.  Now, security officers who are meet certain conditions can have their own set of rest break rules under AB 1512. 

In particular, the security officer must be registered pursuant to the Private Security Services Act, employer by a registered private patrol operator, and working pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement which provides for the wages, hours of work, and working conditions of employees, final and binding arbitration of disputes concerning application of its rest period provisions, premium wage rates for all overtime hours worked, and a regular hourly rate of pay of not less than one dollar more than the state minimum wage rate. 

Once these not-insignificant hurdles are met, the modified rest rules can be applied.  In this regard, AB 1512 amends California Labor Code section 226.7 to permit employers to require their private security officers “to remain on the premises during rest periods and to remain on call, and carry and monitor a communication device, during rest periods.”  If a rest period is “interrupted,” the amendment requires that the security officer be permitted to restart the 10-minute rest period as soon as practicable.  “Interrupted,” as defined in the amendment, means being called upon to return to active duty before completing the rest period, but does not include simply being on the premises, remaining on call, or monitoring any communication devices.   

What does AB 1512 mean for California employers who have a workforce that includes persons who are not security guards?  It serves as a reminder that the California Supreme Court and the California Legislature have clearly established that an employer must not interfere with rest breaks, including by imposing a requirement that an employee remain on the premises, answer the phone or monitor or carry equipment.  To do so will trigger premium pay obligations of an additional hour of pay at the employee’s regular rate of compensation for each day that a rest break is not provided. 

AB 1512 became effective immediately upon Governor Newsom’s signature on September 30, 2020.  However, it does not apply to cases filed before January 1, 2021.  The statute is scheduled to remain in effect until January 1, 2027, at which time it will be repealed.

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP. It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked. So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some free legal advice that will fix all my problems!”, think again. This is commentary, people, a sketchy overview of some current legal issue with a dose of humor, but commentary nonetheless; as if Dennis Miller were a lawyer…and still mildly amusing. No legal advice here; you would have to pay real US currency for that (unless you are my mom, and even then there are limits). But feel free to contact us with your questions and comments—who knows, we might even answer you. And if you want to spread this stuff around, feel free to do so, but please keep it in its present form (‘cause you can’t mess with this kind of poetry). Big news: Copyright 2020. All rights reserved; yep, all of them.

If you have any questions regarding this blog, contact kbrooks@ecjlaw.com of ECJ’s Employment Law Department.

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