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Breaking News for California Employers!

Happy New Year from your CALSAGA Board of Directors and Staff. We wish a positive and prosperous 2017 to all of you.  Our pledge to you is to continue fighting for you and our industry in Sacramento and keeping you informed of the issues that affect your business.

Sadly, we start the year with negative news from the California Supreme Court. The below summary was prepared by Jamiee Wellerstein of our long time legal advisors, Bradley & Gmelich, and we urge you to read it carefully. We will provide additional information about this issue as it becomes available.

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Breaking News for California Employers!

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On December 22, 2016, the California Supreme Court devastated
California employers, the security industry in particular, in the
landmark case of Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., ending an
11-year battle and holding that employers can no longer require
employees to remain “on duty” or “on-call” during paid rest breaks.
The Court ruled that the same standard that applies to off-duty meal
breaks (that employees must be completely relieved of all duties)
also applies to rest breaks.

This ruling results in the potential reinstatement of a $90 million
verdict against the security company, whose security guards remained
on-call during rest breaks and carried radios or other communication
devices in case they needed to return to work.  Even though it was
clear that breaks were rarely interrupted, the Court held that the
on-call requirement invalidated the rest breaks.

What does this mean for California employers?  Employees must be
relieved of all duties during their rest breaks. Employees can no
longer be required to remain “on duty” during rest breaks. Employees
can no longer be required to remain “on-call” (i.e., available for
interruption) during rest breaks. According to the Court, “[C]arrying
a device or otherwise making arrangements so the employer can reach
the employee during a break, responding when the employer seeks
contact with the employee, and performing other work if the employer
so requests. These obligations are irreconcilable with employees’
retention of freedom to use rest periods for their own purposes.”
Employees cannot be required to remain on the premises during rest
breaks.       The Court’s decision may be unreasonable and
impractical, but it is now the law in California.  This will mean big
changes for many California employers. We encourage you to contact
your employment attorneys to plan for the changes that need to be
made.

Jaimee K. Wellerstein is partner at Bradley & Gmelich LLP and an
experienced litigator with a broad spectrum of experience upon which
to draw.  As the head of the firm’s employment team, she concentrates
her practice in representing employers in all aspects of employment
law, including defense of wage and hour class actions,
discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and wrongful discharge
lawsuits. She also provides employment counseling and training in all
of these areas. Ms. Wellerstein routinely represents employers in
federal and state courts and in arbitration proceedings throughout
the state, as well as at administrative proceedings before the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Department of Labor
Standards Enforcement, the United States Department of Labor, and
other federal and state agencies.

As a civil litigator, Ms. Wellerstein has represented clients from
Fortune 500 companies to governmental agencies to small businesses
throughout each stage of litigation. In addition to her employment
law experience, she has honed her expertise in cases involving
general tort litigation, premises and products liability, security
guard litigation, public entity work, and contract disputes.

jaimee_wellerstein    Jaimee K. Wellerstein is partner at Bradley & Gmelich LLP and an experienced litigator with a broad spectrum of experience upon which to draw.  As the head of the firm’s employment team, she concentrates her practice in representing employers in all aspects of employment law, including defense of wage and hour class actions, discrimination, retaliation, harassment, and wrongful discharge lawsuits. She also provides employment counseling and training in all of these areas. Ms. Wellerstein routinely represents employers in federal and state courts and in arbitration proceedings throughout the state, as well as at administrative proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement, the United States Department of Labor, and other federal and state agencies.

As a civil litigator, Ms. Wellerstein has represented clients from Fortune 500 companies to governmental agencies to small businesses throughout each stage of litigation. In addition to her employment law experience, she has honed her expertise in cases involving general tort litigation, premises and products liability, security guard litigation, public entity work, and contract disputes.