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Huerta v. CSI Electrical Contractors

Case Details and Video Transcript:

IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA

GEORGE HUERTA,

Plaintiff and Appellant,

v.

CSI ELECTRICAL CONTRACTORS,

Defendant and Respondent.

S275431

Ninth Circuit

21-16201

Northern District ofCalifornia

5:18-cv-06761-BLF

This case involved a class action against an employer over alleged unpaid hours. At issue was the interpretation of the term “hours worked” in Wage Order No. 16.

To settle the issues on appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit asked the California Supreme Court to answer three questions.

The first question was whether time spent by employees waiting to exit at a security gate on the employer’s premises qualified as “hours worked” and therefore was compensable. The Supreme Court concluded it was because the employer’s exit procedure demonstrated a degree of control over its employees.

The second question was whether time spent by employees driving between the security gate and the parking lot was compensable as “hours worked” for purposes of Wage Order 16. The Supreme Court found that while it may constitute “employer-mandated travel,” this travel time did not constitute “hours worked” as this employer policy did not show the requisite level of control.

The last question involved the employer’s policy of prohibiting employees from leaving the premises during unpaid meal periods. The Court noted that while the employer did not require employees to perform any work during these break periods, it did prevent its employees from being able to use this time freely for their own purposes. Thus, the Court held that employees remained subject to the employer’s control making their time compensable. 

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