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Mendiola v. CPS Security Solutions, Inc.

Supreme Court of California

January 8, 2015

TIM MENDIOLA et al., Plaintiffs, Cross-defendants and Respondents,
v.
CPS SECURITY SOLUTIONS, INC., et al., Defendants, Cross-complainants and Appellants. FLORIANO ACOSTA et al., Plaintiffs, Cross-defendants and Respondents,
v.
CPS SECURITY SOLUTIONS, INC., et al., Defendants, Cross-complainants and Appellants

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Page 836

Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. BC391669, Jane L. Johnson, Judge. Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District, Division Four, No. B240519.

Blank Rome, Howard M. Knee; and Jim D. Newman for Defendants, Cross-complainants and Appellants.

Law Offices of Cathe L. Caraway-Howard, Cathe L. Caraway-Howard; Natividad Law Firm, Caesar S. Natividad; Locker Folberg and Miles E. Locker for Plaintiffs, Cross-defendants and Respondents.

Hina B. Shah for Women's Employment Rights Clinic of Golden Gate University School of Law, Asian Americans Advancing Justice--Asian Law Caucus, Katharine and George Alexander Community Law Center, Legal Aid Society--Employment Law Center, the Maintenance Cooperation Trust Fund, National Lawyers Guild--Labor and Employment Committee, UC Hastings Civil Justice Clinic, UCLA Labor Center and Worksafe Inc., as Amici Curiae on behalf of Plaintiffs, Cross-defendants and Respondents.

David A. Sanders; Carroll, Burdick & McDonough, Gregg McLean Adam and Jennifer S. Stoughton for California Correctional Peace Officers' Association as Amicus Curiae on behalf of Plaintiffs, Cross-defendants and Respondents.

Opinion by Corrigan, J., with Cantil-Sakauye, C. J., Werdegar, Chin, Liu, Baxter [*], and Fybel [**], JJ., concurring.

OPINION

[340 P.3d 357] [182 Cal.Rptr.3d 126] CORRIGAN, J.--

Here we hold that, under the California wage order covering security guards, these plaintiffs are entitled to compensation for all on-call hours spent at their assigned worksites under their employer's control.

Page 837

I. BACKGROUND

The relevant facts are not in dispute. [1] As applicable here, [2] CPS employed on-call guards [3] to provide security at construction worksites. Part of each guard's day was spent on active patrol. Each evening, guards were required to be on call at the worksite and to respond to disturbances should the need arise.

More specifically, a guard's obligations differed depending on the day of the week. On weekdays, each guard was on patrol for eight hours, on call for eight hours, and off duty for eight hours. On weekends, each guard was on patrol for 16 hours and on call for eight hours.

By written agreement, an on-call guard was required to reside in a trailer provided by CPS. The trailers ranged from 150 to 200 square feet and had residential amenities including a bed, bathroom, kitchen, heating, and air-conditioning. Only the assigned guard and maintenance staff had keys to these onsite trailers. Guards could keep personal items in the trailers and generally use on-call time as they chose. However, children, pets, and alcohol were not allowed, and adult visitors were permitted only with the approval of the CPS client.

An on-call guard wanting to leave the worksite had to notify a dispatcher and [182 Cal.Rptr.3d 127] indicate where he or she would be and for how long. If another employee was available for relief, the guard had to wait onsite until the reliever arrived. [4] If no reliever was available, the guard had to remain onsite, even in the case of a personal emergency. If relieved, a guard had to be accessible by pager or radio phone and to stay close enough to the site to return within 30 minutes.

[340 P.3d 358] Guards were compensated as follows. They were paid hourly for time spent patrolling the worksite. They received no compensation for on-call time unless (1) an alarm or other circumstances required that they conduct an investigation or (2) they waited for, or had been denied, a reliever. Guards were paid for the actual time spent investigating disturbances. If three or more hours of investigation were required during on-call time, the guard was paid for the full eight hours.

Page 838

Two class action lawsuits were filed in 2008 by CPS guards. The complaints alleged, inter alia, that CPS's on-call compensation policy violated minimum wage and overtime obligations imposed by the applicable Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) wage order and Labor Code statutes. [5] The trial court consolidated the cases and certified the class. Both sides sought declaratory relief as to the lawfulness of CPS's on-call ...


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