If an employee is required to be available by radio, pager, mobile phone, or the like on a rest break, does it count as a rest break? Like so much of California employment law, it depends on whom you ask.

We previously reported on Augustus v. ABM, where the court of appeal answered that question: “Yes,” explaining that requiring someone to be available to work wasn’t the same as requiring them to work. In fact, we got a little glib about starting off the new year with good news.

Now, the California Supreme Court has granted review and will decide the issue anew. So, for now, the answer to the question is a clear “Maybe.”


Copyright:  / 123RF Stock Photo
Copyright: / 123RF Stock Photo
  1. The conservative response to this development would be to have employees, whenever practicable, hand-off their communication devices (other than personal cell phones) during rest breaks.
  2. The standard for meal periods is different. There’s no question for meal periods that employees must be “relieved of all duty.”
  3. Anytime I use “California,” “employment law,” and “good news” together in a sentence, assume that we’re just waiting for the other shoe to drop.