Security Guard Rights
Security guards have a tough gig. They’re the first line of protection for people and property. They work long hours. They work alone. They check employees, tenants, and/or guests in to buildings. They patrol and protect the halls, and walls. They write security reports, incident reports, and daily activity sheets. They are required to remain calm in crisis. They direct people to safety. They correspond with first responders. They are ever alert. They are seldom thanked.
Sadly, most employers violate the employment rights of security guards. Your job is to protect. To do that you are often required to buy expensive gear. Uniforms, guns, cleaning supplies, batons, whistles, belts, flashlights, cell phones, radios, and other things. But, your employer requires you to use them for your job. Under California labor laws, you’re typically entitled to reimbursement for all necessary job-related expenses like the above.
Security guards are entitled to pay for all hours worked. That means, if you have a gun, that you need to use for your job, and you have to clean that gun, you have to be paid for that time you spent cleaning that gun. If your employer requires you to complete some sort of testing, or modules, you’re entitled to pay for that too. If your employer requires you to attend mandatory training meetings, safety meetings, classes for certifications, or other things that benefit the company, you’re required to be paid for that too.
Security guards are entitled to meal and rest periods, where they are relieved of all duties. That means, if you have to carry your radio, or a phone, and you’re expected to respond to calls while you’re taking a 10-minute break, or a 30-minute break, the employer is denying you meal and rest periods. If your employer is denying you meal or rest periods, you could be entitled to additional pay for the employer’s failure to provide you with a 10-minute, or a 30-minute break. Not only that, but if you report at 5:30 PM for your briefing, take your first ten, with your radio, work until 9:30 PM, take an hour for your lunch, with your radio, come back at 10:30, take your next ten, and work until 2:30 AM, when you finish your debriefing, you haven’t worked 8 hours. You have actually worked 9 hours. That means you are entitled to 8 hours of pay at your regular rate. You are entitled to two additional hours of “premium” pay since you were denied your meal or rest periods, and you are entitled to 1 hour of overtime pay of at least 1.5 times your regular rate of pay. Your employer would typically pay you for 8. So, your employer is shorting you about 3.5 hours work of pay in that scenario.
Many employers try to get clever and call security guards “security managers” or other important sounding names. They pay the guard a salary and make the guard work long hours. But, this is usually illegal. Other employers move a guard from one station to another and treat each station as a different job in order to avoid overtime. For example, we have seen an employer station Guard 1 at site A for 6 hours, and then move Guard 1 to site B for another 6 hours, and then claim that Guard 1 didn’t really work 12 hours. Guard 1 really worked 6 hours for two different companies. This is also usually illegal. Sometimes, an employer will make Guard 1 travel from site A to site B, but won’t pay Guard 1 for Guard 1’s time spent traveling. Again, this is typically illegal. Sometimes the employer will even make Guard 1 use his/her own car and not reimburse him/her for using the car. Again, this is typically illegal.
If you’re a security guard, you’re probably not receiving the meal and rest periods you are entitled to. Contact an experienced employment attorney today.
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