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  • Writer's pictureJana Moser

Give Me a Break! | Naranjo V. Spectrum SS | Important Takeaways for California Employees


Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc.: Important Takeaways for California Employees

Introduction


In today's fast-paced world, it's essential for employees to be aware of their rights in the workplace. This article breaks down the Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc. case and highlights the important takeaways for employees in California. By understanding the implications of this case, you can better protect your rights and advocate for yourself in your current role.


Background


The Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc. case, which was decided in 2019, involved a dispute between a group of security guards and their employer, Spectrum Security Services, Inc. The security guards claimed that Spectrum had violated California labor laws by not providing meal and rest breaks, failing to pay for missed breaks, and not reimbursing employees for work-related expenses.



The Case


The security guards brought a class action lawsuit against Spectrum Security Services, Inc., alleging several labor law violations, including:


1. Failure to provide meal and rest breaks: California law requires employers to provide employees with a 30-minute meal break if they work more than five hours in a day and a 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked. The guards argued that they were often denied these breaks.


2. Failure to pay for missed breaks: If an employer fails to provide an employee with a required meal or rest break, the employee is entitled to one hour of pay at their regular rate. The guards claimed they were not compensated for missed breaks.


3. Failure to reimburse for work-related expenses: The guards claimed that they had to use their personal cell phones for work purposes, and Spectrum failed to reimburse them for the associated costs.



The Ruling


The trial court ruled in favor of the security guards, finding that Spectrum had indeed violated California labor laws. Spectrum appealed the decision, but the appellate court upheld the trial court's ruling. The courts determined that Spectrum had failed to provide meal and rest breaks, pay for missed breaks, and reimburse employees for work-related expenses.



Important Takeaways for California Employees


1. Understand your right to meal and rest breaks: This case reaffirms that California employers must provide employees with meal and rest breaks as required by law. If you're working more than five hours in a day, you're entitled to a 30-minute meal break. Additionally, you're entitled to a 10-minute rest break for every four hours worked. Familiarize yourself with these rules to ensure you receive the breaks you're entitled to.


2. Know your rights when breaks are missed: If your employer fails to provide you with a required meal or rest break, you're entitled to one hour of pay at your regular rate for each missed break. Make sure you keep track of any missed breaks and inform your employer, as they're obligated to compensate you accordingly.


3. Be aware of your right to reimbursement for work-related expenses: California law requires employers to reimburse employees for all necessary expenditures incurred as a direct consequence of performing their job duties. This includes expenses such as using your personal cell phone for work purposes, purchasing required uniforms, or using your personal vehicle for work-related travel. Keep records of any work-related expenses and submit them to your employer for reimbursement.


4. Speak up if your rights are violated: If you believe your employer is violating California labor laws, it's crucial to speak up. You can report labor law violations to the California Labor Commissioner's Office, which will investigate the matter and take appropriate action. Additionally, you have the right to bring a lawsuit against your employer for labor law violations.


5. Know that you're protected from retaliation: California law prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who assert their rights under labor laws or report violations. If you experience retaliation, you may be entitled to additional remedies, such as reinstatement, lost wages, and damages. Make sure you document any instances of retaliation and seek legal advice if necessary.



Conclusion


The Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, Inc. case serves as a reminder for California employees to understand their rights in the workplace. By familiarizing yourself with labor laws and knowing your entitlements, you can better protect your rights and advocate for yourself in your current role.


Remember that you have the right to meal and rest breaks, compensation for missed breaks, reimbursement for work-related expenses, and protection from retaliation. If you believe your employer is violating your rights, don't hesitate to take action and seek assistance by calling us at Moser Legal at (310) 295-1724.


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