Workplace Rights That Security Guards May Not Even Know They Have

Are you a security guard, or do you have a family member or friend who works as a security guard? Pay attention! In this blog entry, we highlight eight workplace rights that you (or they) may not even know about. These can make a big difference in your paychecks!

You’re entitled to Overtime

If you work more than 40 hours a week, the law requires the company to pay you time and a half for each hour over forty.  If you are working 50 or 60 hours a week but only getting paid for 40, you are being cheated.  This also applies if your company is paying you straight time for hours over 40 per week.

Overtime Calculated on Total Hours Worked

If you work 30 hours at one job site and 20 hours at another job site but both are through your same security guard company, then that counts as 50 hours worked – 10 hours of which is overtime.  If the two sites have different pay rates, your overtime rate should be time and a half your “blended rate”.  The math can be a little tricky to figure out, but if you are just getting time and a half the lower hourly rate, you may have been underpaid.

Meal Breaks are deducted if you didn’t take them

Do your time logs show automatic deductions of a half hour or an hour for lunch but you are generally working straight through?  There is nothing inherently wrong with your employer automatically deducting 30 minutes or an hour for your lunch break – unless you don’t actually get to take it and the employer knows or should know you don’t.  If there is a policy requiring you to report it when you don’t get to take lunch, make sure you report it.  If you’re still not paid properly, this is a form of wage theft.

Supervisor is Rounding Time Reporting Down

If you are working from 7:30 to 5:15 but your supervisor is logging it as 8 to 5 (or worse yet, just “8.5 hours”), you are getting cheated. If one day you arrive at 8:05 and the next you’re there at 7:55 and both days he logs it as 8:00, that kind of rounding generally is permitted. The best way to ensure you are not getting cheated in this manner is to track your exact hours worked every day.

You are Required to List Shift Hours Rather than Hours Worked

If your shift hours are 8:00 to 5:00 but you actually work from 7:48 to 5:18, a company requirement to falsify your time logs cheats you out of a half an hour of work.  The law requires companies to keep accurate time logs.  Whether this is happening to just you, or multiple employees, this is illegal and should be stopped.

Pay is Deducted as a Form of Punishment

Employers have many options available to them when disciplining employees for workplace violations.  One of them, however, is not deducting pay.  You are entitled to your full pay for the hours you work, even if you don’t perform as your employer would like.

Withholding Pay for Prep Time

In the morning, do you have to patrol the perimeter, talk to the guard whom you are relieving of his post, attend meetings, receive instructions about the day’s jobs, etc? You are entitled to compensation for this time.  Similarly, at the end of the day, do you have to complete paperwork, clean up, fill out reports, etc.?  If you’re not paid for that time, you’re being cheated.

Drive Time Between Sites

If you patrol multiple locations in a given day, you should be getting paid for the time it takes to drive between them.  While driving to and from work is not paid, any time you are traveling for work should be compensated at your normal rate.

Wage theft can be very confusing, which is why it is important to have an experienced attorney helping you.  If you believe you are a victim, or even if you just want someone to look at your pay stubs to ensure everything adds up properly, let us know.  We offer free, confidential consultations for all our clients.