Can I File a Back Pay Lawsuit for Hours Spent On Call?

Man laying in bed yawning

Mendiola vs. CPS Security Solutions

The case that brought about this ruling was between Mendiola, a security guard, and CPS Security Solutions. As a new employee Mendiola signed an agreement about the hours he would be working. Part of that agreement was that on the weekend Mendiola would work a 24 hour shift; 16 of those hours would be spent actively patrolling and responding to alarms, the other 8 hours would be spent in a trailer supplied by CPS to be used for eating, showering, sleeping, and personal activities.

During the 8 “off” hours, Mendiola would be on-call and required to respond to alarms and investigate problems. The agreement stated he would only be paid for the hours spent actively investigating, but not the other hours where he could sleep but still be on-call.

The ruling by the California Supreme Court showed that Mendiola was never truly off-duty. Even when he was in the trailer, his presence deterred crime and thus he was performing the duties of his job. He would need to be fairly compensated for the hours worked, even though they were sleep hours. This sleep pay extends to many others that face a similar situation.

Filing a Back Pay Lawsuit for Sleep Time

Many employees fit the same situation as Mendiola, and thus should be adequately compensated for the time they are “off-duty” but still required to be working. There are some, however, that do not fit that situation. For instance, if an employee is required to sleep at the job, but there is no reasonable expectation that he or she should have to work during the designated sleeping hours, they may be excluded from the sleep pay requirement.

Going forward, employers will have to pay employees for time they spend at the job even though they may be sleeping (if the job requirements fit the situation outlined above). However, that means there are a number of employees who have essentially been working for free. They should be compensated for the time they gave to their employer.

Filing Your Back Pay Lawsuit for On-Call Hours

If your job fits this situation, you may be able to collect compensation for hours spent at work, even if asleep. Contact an attorney from by calling 1-800-917-4000, or by filling out the contact form on this page, to schedule your free review.

A back pay attorney with Phillips Dayes can review and represent your case no matter where you live in California.