California Supreme Court Clarifies the Definition of ‘Hours Worked’ Under California Law

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On March 25, 2024, the California Supreme Court ruled that an employee’s time spent waiting in the employee’s personal vehicle on their employer’s premises while undergoing an employer-mandated exit procedure by a security guard, is considered compensable “hours worked” under Wage Order No. 16, section 2(J).

This ruling aligns with the Court’s prior decision in Frelkin v. Apple, where it determined that on-premises bag checks at the end of a shift constituted compensable work time. The Court conceded that the bag check in Frelkin were objectively more intrusive and controlling than the vehicle spot checks and badge at issue in this case. But, still, the Court held that the time spent in a person vehicle waiting to leave an employer’s facility was compensable work time.

There is some nuance in this case. But the lesson is relatively clear: In California, employers should err on the side of caution and deem as compensable time that an employee spends on their premises. While there are exceptions, time-and-time again California courts have erred on the side of employees.

For more information on how the recent California Supreme Court ruling impacts your business practices, please contact us at

This material is provided for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor does it create a client-lawyer relationship between MNK Law and any recipient. Recipients should consult with counsel before taking any actions based on the information contained within this material.