Employment Lawyers: Ensuring Employees Are Compensated Fairly

In California, as well as across the nation, there are many jobs which require employees to be on “standby” or “on-call”. For example, some employees who are on standby may be required to carry their cell phone or smart phone and check their email regularly while they go about their personal affairs. Other employers may require the employee to carry a cell phone at all times as they may contact the employee to immediately come into work. For the standby or on-call employee, it can become confusing as to whether he or she is being compensated fairly for being on standby or on-call. If something seems unfair, an employment lawyer should be contacted so the employee’s situation can be evaluated.

Under California law, on-call waiting time is compensable if it is spent primarily for the benefit of the employer and its business. In Augustus v. American Commercial Security Services, the employer had a widespread policy which required its employees, security guards, to remain on standby or on-call at all times, even during rest breaks. When on-call, the security guards carried radios and cell phones and were required to be available at all times. The plaintiff class made up of the security guards filed suit alleging they were not being provided off-duty breaks as required under California law as they were essentially forced to remain on-call and were never at any point relieved of all duties. The security guards contacted an employment lawyer to represent them against the employer.

Plaintiffs argued that the employer had to ensure that its employees were completely relieved of all duty during their breaks, and the employee failed to do just that. Defendants argued that it did not matter whether the security guards were on call so long as the rest breaks were never interrupted then there was no violation. The judge was not convinced and sided with the plaintiff class. The judge entered a verdict in favor of the plaintiff class for $90 million.

This case is a huge win for California employees. Unfortunately, employers still violate the law in an attempt to cut costs or maximize their employee’s work time. However, cases such as Augustus v. American Commercial Security Services confirms that there is consequences for employers violating the law and employers can be held accountable in the court of law. If you believes your employer has committed a wage and hour violation, contact an employment lawyer immediately.


Filed under Wages and Hours

5 Responses to Employment Lawyers: Ensuring Employees Are Compensated Fairly

  1. I really appreciate you taking the time to give all this advice about employment and labor lawyers. My brother said that he thinks he needs one and I want to be sure I know enough to help him choose who to go with. Specifically I’ll be pointing out to my brother that even to prove that the situation is being fair compensated is worth the fight with a lawyer and start taking action.

  2. It makes sense that you should call an employment lawyer if you were to feel like an unjust amount of compensation was being paid to on-call employees. Employees of this kind would probably have a lot more strain and stress on their shoulders due to the fact that they basically don’t have any time off. Ensuring that they are properly compensated will ensure that their work is still worth their while and you’ll be able to keep valuable employees.

  3. I like what you said about being confused whether you are getting fair compensation being an on-call employee. My girlfriend is a nurse aid and is constantly on call and it just doesn’t seem fair to her life or that she is getting paid quite enough for all her efforts. I think that it might be beneficial to her to consult with an employment lawyer.

  4. My cousin was injured at work and he can’t come to work. It was explained here that employment lawyers ensure that employees are compensated fairly. Furthermore, it’s advisable to hire an experienced lawyer for the best the outcome.

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