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Universal Protection Allegedly Required Off-the-Clock Work

Security guard and city skyline

This class action alleges that Universal Protection did not pay its security guards for pre- and post-shift work, violating federal laws against off-the-clock work and the requirements of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) to pay overtime.

The class for the overtime pay part of this class action is all similarly-situated persons who worked as security guards for Universal Protection during the past three years. The class for the nonpayment of pre- and post-shift work part is all such persons who worked as security guards for Universal Protection during the past five years.

Universal Protection supplies security services for all kinds of properties, including airports, corporate campuses, manufacturing, government, and educational facilities, residential communities, and retail centers. It employs persons as security guards to monitor the premises of its clients and ensure their safety.

According to the complaint, Universal’s security guards are paid on an hourly basis and are required to work a full-time schedule plus overtime. However, the complaint claims, Universal requires that the security guards perform certain duties on an off-the-clock basis. For example, the complaint says, security guards must receive pre-shift briefings from the security guard for the previous shift, to receive information on any disturbances or complaints occurring during that shift or any instructions from the clients or from Universal. The guards, it claims, are not supposed to clock in until they have received these briefings. The complaint also says that the guards are expected to perform post-shift duties such as waiting for the next security guard to arrive and writing reports, and that they are expected to clock out before doing these things. According to the security guards, these pre- and post-shift duties take about 10-30 minutes per shift; they are required by Universal and are indispensible to the performance of their duties.

The law states that employees must be compensated for all of the time which they are on duty or performing work, including “all pre-shift and post-shift activities which are an integral part of the employee’s principal activity or which are closely related to the performance of the principal activity, such as attending roll call, writing up and completing tickets or reports, and washing and re-racking fire hoses.”

Furthermore, the US Department of Labor issued Fact Sheet #4 in July 2008 to alert security guards to certain problems in the industry, including that “all hours of work must be recorded.”

The complaint also alleges that if the additional time were properly counted as working hours, the security guards would typically have worked more than forty hours in the week, requiring the payment of overtime under the FLSA, at rate of 1.5 times the security guards’ normal pay. 

Current Case Status: 

We will update this case in March, 2016.

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