The California Supreme Court decided on December 22, 2016 that employers are prohibited from requiring employees to be on-call during their rest breaks. Employers are legally obligated to provide employees with a 10 minute rest break for every four hours worked or major fraction thereof. In Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc., the Court looked at whether or not employers could require employees to remain on-call during their rest breaks, and ultimately decided that they could not.
The Court explained, “We granted review to address two related issues: whether employers are required to permit their employees to take off-duty rest periods under Labor Code section 226.7 and Industrial Welfare Commission (IWC) wage order No. 4-2001 (Cal. Code Regs., tit. 8, § 11040 (Wage Order 4)), and whether employers may require their employees to remain “on call” during rest periods. What we conclude is that state law prohibits on-duty and on-call rest periods. During required rest periods, employers must relieve their employees of all duties and relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time.”
You can read the full decision here:
This is a great case for employees and confirms that employees in California are entitled to duty free rest breaks.