A recent ruling confirmed that the time an employee spends waiting in line for a security check is considered “hours worked” in California and must be paid. The California Supreme Court ruling applies even though the employees choose to bring in bags to work. Put another way, the employees could skip the line by not bringing a bag, a purse, or even a phone to work.
This ruling is not surprising. Clients from out of state are often surprised by California’s broad definition of “hours worked” compared to federal law under the FLSA. Another difference is travel time. Here in California, a non-exempt employee must be paid essentially door-to-door for travel time, regardless of what day travel incurs. Under the FLSA, the standard is much more employer-friendly and fact dependent.
The moral of the story? Just about everything is considered hours worked in California. If you ever start to think otherwise, just remember that what is legal in California isn’t logical, and what is logical in California is not necessarily legal.