By: Fadi K. Rasheed, Esq.
On November 6, 2018, Proposition 11 passed in California, which is a big victory for private-sector emergency ambulance companies in California.
Proposition 11 (also known as the Emergency Ambulance Employee Safety and Preparedness Act) makes labor laws entitling hourly employees to take meals and rest breaks, without being on-call, inapplicable to private-sector emergency ambulance employees. These employees are now required to remain reachable by a portable communications device (i.e., mobile phone, pager, radio, etc.) throughout the entirety of each work shift. Proposition 11 further eliminates private-sector emergency ambulance employers’ liability (in actions pending on or after October 25, 2017) for violations of existing law regarding meal and rest breaks.
However, private-sector emergency ambulance employees are still entitled to meal and rest breaks, and must be compensated at their regular hourly rate of pay during the breaks given that they are required to be on-call. If these employees are contacted during a meal or rest period, that particular meal or rest period shall not be counted towards the meal and rest periods the employee is entitled to during his or her work shift. However, if an emergency ambulance employee is not contacted during a meal or rest period, that particular meal or rest period shall be counted.
Moreover, the timing of meal breaks for these employees are adjusted under Proposition 11. Namely, an emergency ambulance provider shall not require an emergency ambulance employee to take a meal period during the first or last hour of a work shift, and must allow the employee to space multiple meal periods during a work shift at least two hours apart. If the meal period that does not comply with this, it shall not be counted towards the meal periods an employee is entitled to during his or her work shift.
Given that Proposition 11 deals directly with on-call breaks, it appears the Proposition stems from a 2016 California Supreme Court ruling in Augustus v. ABM Security Services, Inc. that made it unlawful for security guards to remain on-call during breaks. After this ruling, many other lawsuits concerning on-call breaks began popping up in California, but, as stated above, Proposition 11 allows private-sector emergency ambulance companies to escape liability. Given the success of Proposition 11 for private-sector emergency ambulance companies, it is likely that employers in other industries will make efforts to seek similar law changes concerning on-call breaks in their respective industries.
Leech Tishman’s Employment Practice Group can help clients ensure compliance with California’s complex and technical employment laws and can assist clients with defending against civil or administrative actions.
If you have any questions regarding California’s unique employment laws or these employment law updates, please contact Fadi K. Rasheed. Fadi is Counsel with Leech Tishman and a member of the firm’s Employment, Litigation and Corporate Practice Groups. Fadi is based in the Leech Tishman’s El Segundo, CA office. and can be reached at 424.738.4400 or email@example.com.
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Leech Tishman Fuscaldo & Lampl is a full-service law firm dedicated to assisting individuals, businesses, and institutions. Leech Tishman offers legal services in alternative dispute resolution, aviation & aerospace, bankruptcy & creditors’ rights, construction, corporate, employee benefits, employment, energy, environmental, estates & trusts, family law, government relations, immigration, insurance coverage & corporate risk mitigation, intellectual property, internal investigations, international legal matters, litigation, real estate, and taxation. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Leech Tishman also has offices in El Segundo, CA, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Sarasota and Wilmington, DE.