Court awards unpaid wages to security guards

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Case in Point

August 7, 2012

Court awards unpaid wages to security guards 

The plaintiffs alleged that the defendant’s failure to compensate them for hours spent working through their breaks violated the state labor code and unfair business practices act. The court awarded about $89.74 million. Augustus v. Am. Commercial Sec. Servs.

American Commercial Security Services (ACSS) employs thousands of security guards stationed in facilities throughout California. The security guards are classified as nonexempt employees and frequently work more than eight hours per day. Company policy required guards to be on call during rest and meal breaks and available through cellphones or pagers. When employees left the company, ACSS refused to compensate them for hours spent working through their breaks.

Four security guards filed class actions that were later consolidated against ACSS and its parent company, alleging violations of California’s labor code and unfair business practices act.

Finding that “[p]ut simply, if you are on call, you are not on break,” the trial court awarded about $89.74 million, including about $55.89 million in unpaid wages, about $31.2 million in interest, and about $2.65 million to account for six months spent waiting for unpaid wages after leaving the company.

Citation: Augustus v. Am. Commercial Sec. Servs., No. BC336416 (Cal., Los Angeles Co. Super. July 6, 2012).

Plaintiff counsel: AAJ member Drew E. Pomerance, and Michael B. Adreani and Marina N. Vitek, all of Woodland Hills, Calif.; Benjamin T. Lee, Torrance, Calif.; AAJ member Marc Primo, and Mónica Balderrama and Rebecca Labat, all of Los Angeles; and André E. Jardini, Glendale, Calif.


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