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California Pest Control Technician Wage Laws

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Pest Control Technician Wage Law 

As you know, pest control workers remove unwanted creatures, such as roaches, rats, ants, bedbugs, and termites that infest buildings and surrounding areas. What you may not know is that if you are a California Pest Control Technician you can bring a class action lawsuit against your employer for wages that you worked hard for.

Based upon our investigation, most pest control companies in California are violating California’s wage and hour laws. Most California pest control technicians are not receiving the wages that they are entitled to receive under California wage and hour laws.  

California wage laws are based upon the California Labor Code and the California Wage Orders.


Clients smiling with their settlement checks from a California unpaid wages case.
They're happy they got their settlement check for their unpaid wages!!


What are California Pest Control Technician Worker Class Action Lawsuits About?

The California Supreme Court issued a ground-breaking decision in Brinker v. Superior Court in 2012.   In the Brinker case the Supreme Court stated the requirements that employers in California must follow in order to meet its duty to provide meal periods to California workers.  I represented the workers in the Brinker case, so I know the case very well. 

What we have found is that most California pest control companies don’t pay for all hours that you work (or are under the control of the company) don't properly pay overtime and don’t provide legal and compliant meal periods/ lunches and rest periods. Many are illegally using what is called auto-meal deduct in order to deduct a half hours pay.

You are entitled to overtime pay at time and one-half, an hours pay for every missed meal period/ lunch, an hour’s pay for missed rest period, waiting time penalties and interest.  I call this the “joy of math” how quickly this all adds up.

I cover all of these in more depth and I answer the following questions an/or address the following issues: 


Why is Bill Turley asked to testify concerning wage law legislation at the California State Senate and the California Assembly?

Bill Turley - testyfing before the California State Senate and California State Assembly on wage legislation

A No B.S. straight-shooter lawyer

Believe it or not, Bill is known for being a no B.S. straight-up lawyer. Besides being known as one of the leading experts on this area of the law in California, one of the reasons why Bill is asked to testify at legislature hearings is because he is known for being straight-forward and blunt. He is known for being no B.S., with no lawyer-talk, no double-talk.

Pest control technicians in California are covered by California Wage Order 5

The wages, hours and working conditions for the pest control industry are governed by California Wage Order 5-2001.  This means that you will need to look at Wage Order 5 in order to determine what duties the company has to provide you with wages, hours and working conditions if you’re a California pest control technician.

 What if there an arbitration agreement? ...  (such as with Truly Nolen of America and Terminix International Inc.)

Based on what I have seen, many - if not most - large national pest control companies  Truly Nolen of America and Terminix International Inc. make their employees sign arbitration agreements.  Otherwise known as “forced arbitration agreements.
If you a pest control technician in California with unpaid wage claims against Truly Nolen of America and Terminix International Inc. and/or other pest control companies with an arbitration agreement - you can still bring a PAGA lawsuit. 
There are at least 8 Truly Nolen locations in California. And 32 Terminix pest control locations in California. California npaid wages class action lawsuit and/or PAGA lawsuit. 
Later in this article, I explain more about PAGA cases and how you can bring a PAGA case to enforce wage rights in California.

As a pest control technician, should I be getting paid for all time that I work?

Based upon what we have seen in the pest control industry, many pest control technicians may not getting paid for all the time that they are working and/or under the control of the company.
Under California law, compensable time is "the time during which an employee is subject to the control of an employer, and includes all the time the employee is suffered or permitted to work,  whether or not required to do so." Morillion v. Royal Packaging Co., 22 Cal. 4th 575, 578 (2000) (quoting Wage Order 4 Section 2(G)).
Time is compensable if you are "under the control" of your employer, whether or not you’re engaging in work activities, such as by being required to remain on the employer's premises or being restricted from engaging in certain personal activities.  Morillion v. Royal Packaging Co., 22 Cal. 4th 575, 578 (2000).
Whether your owed for 1 minute or 20 minutes due to your being under the control of the company during meal breaks, you’re still owed wages
In the recent Troester California Supreme Court case, a worker was unpaid while they closed up the store for about two (2) minutes per shift. The California Supreme Court held that the company must pay for that 2 minutes per shift. The wages and penalties owed to the worker ended up being thousands of dollars. All based upon about 2 minutes a shift. Troester v. Starbucks Corp., 5 Cal. 5th 829, 845 (2018).
The Ninth Circuit ruled that as little as 59 seconds of unpaid time must be paid. Rodriguez v. Nike Retail Servs., 928 F.3d 810, 817 (2019).

"But, it's not worth claiming a few minutes for getting paid" and other thoughts that will cost you from getting thousands of dollars in unpaid wages and penalties. 

The natural thing for most folks to think is, "It's only a minute or two. So I can't claim it as work time."  Under California law, this thinking is not only wrong, but VERY wrong. More importantly, this thinking can and will cost you thousands of dollars. In fact, the company is hoping that you'll think this way. Because the company probably gets A LOT of free work time each week from you and all the other workers at the company. 
California law protects workers.  
Pest control technicians must be paid for everything that they do and/or all the time that they are under the control of the company
As longs as it's regular time - meaning it's not random. Meaning it happens regularly - then you must be paid for it.  For example, if you regularly receive group chats, texts and/or emails while you're not getting paid - then you must be paid for this time. 
Oftentimes, you must be paid for the driver to the first job at the beginning of your shift - even if you're coming from home. 

Examples of things that you should be getting paid for as a pest control technician in California

If you do any of these tasks or activities while you're not "on the clock" then you're probably owed unpaid wages: 
Looking at your work schedule
Checking work assignments
Calls from customers
Calls from supervisors
Getting/ checking out group texts or messages
Calls or texts from your supervisors
Putting gas in the car
Loading equipment into your car or taking equipment out of your car
Charging your phone or tablet
Driving to work sites
Laundering/ cleaning your uniform
This is just a partial list. We usually find more unpaid tasks and/or unpaid time once we starting looking into a potential case.

Meal break laws for California pest control technicians

Under California law, “An employer's duty with respect to meal breaks … is an obligation to provide a meal period to its employees. The employer satisfies this obligation if:

 1.  It relieves you of all duty,
 2.  Relinquishes control over you activities and
 3.  Permits you a reasonable opportunity to take an uninterrupted 30-minute break, and
 4.  Your employer does not impede or discourage you from doing so."
 Brinker vs. Superior Court  (2012) 53 Cal.4th 1004, 1040.
This is all based upon the ground-breaking California Supreme Court case - Brinker vs. Superior Court. I know the Brinker case very well, because I represented the workers in the Brinker case. I have often used the Brinker case in order to win workers wages in unpaid wages class action cases.
There are many ways that California pest control companies fail to provide meal breaks. For example, if you have to keep you phone on during meal breaks or rest breaks, then you didn’t get a legal meal break or rest break.
Am I owed an hour's pay every time I'm not provided a legal meal break?
When you don’t get a legal meal break,  you are owed an hour’s pay for every meal period when this occurred. California Labor Code Section 226.7.
If we use a conservative one meal period a day, that means that you are owed an hour’s pay for every shift that you worked.

What is California rest break law for pest control technicians?

In the Augustus decision, the California Supreme Court stated that an employer's obligation to provide rest breaks is the same as it is to provide meal breaks.
Augustus v. ABM , 2 Cal. 5th 257, 265, (2016).
I know the Augustus case very well because I wrote the winning briefs for the California Supreme Court.

Am I owed an hour's pay every time I'm not provided a legal rest break?

When you don’t get a legal rest break,  you are owed an hour’s pay for every meal period when this occurred. California Labor Code Section 226.7.

What is is the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA)?

Private Attorneys General Act or as it is commonly called PAGA, authorizes employees that are subject to illegal labor code violations to act as private attorney generals to recover civil penalties from their employers for violations of the labor code. This can be so, so powerful. You, in essence, can bring a case like the California Attorney General when your employer violates California wage and hour laws.
Can I get or recover  PAGA money penalties for a California pest control technician wage case?
Under the PAGA laws, you can recover $25 for the first violation and $50 for every other PAGA violation, per pay period. 
Don't get fooled by the amounts. What you’re probably going to see is the company violating many PAGA laws and the penalties adding up, really fast.

Can I get wages that weren’t paid to me by the employer under PAGA?

You can only get penalties under PAGA.  However, the wages that were not paid to you by the employer can be part of the PAGA penalties.

Am I owed paycheck stub violations (up to $4,000) from the pest control company?

You're also probably owed paycheck stub violations.  Since the company didn't put all of the hours you worked on your pay stub, didn't put your gross pay and didn't put the net pay owed to  you on your pay stub, then you are entitled to paycheck stub violations. California Labor Code Section 226(a).
These 226 penalties are up to $4,000.

Am I owed waiting time penalties from the pest control company? 

Since all of your wages weren't paid timely at time of termination, you're also owed waiting time penalties.  California Labor Code Section 203. The waiting penalties you're owed are up to 30 days pay.
For example, if  you made $15 an hour your waiting time penalties are as follows:
$15   x   8 hours =    $   120
$120 x 30 days =      $3,600

What Can I Do?

If you are a current or former California Pest Control Technician Worker you can file a class action lawsuit and/or a PAGA lawsuit in order to enforce your rights. And - importantly - get your fair wages back.  This is money wages that are owed to you. You work hard for you money - you shouldn’t let the company get rich with money wages owed to you.

Call us at 619-304-1000  

Text us at 858-281-8008 

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 Or leave us a message on this web page

Protester with sign: Wage Theft Stops Here


Making the Law: Bill Turley Help draft the recent changes to PAGA laws

The Private Attorneys Generals Act (PAGA) is a case where aggrieved employees are, in effect, deputized to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the State of California for Labor Code violations. The PAGA laws were enacted because the State of California has inadequate resources to enforce California wage laws. 

Bill helped draft recent changes to the PAGA laws. Bill was the wage and hour lawyer that sat met with the Governor’s office to help write the new PAGA amendments. 



These discussions and/or examples are not legal advice. All legal situations are different. This testimonial, endorsement, case study, article and/or discussion does not constitute a guarantee, warranty, or prediction regarding the outcome of your legal matter, your particular case/ situation and/or this particular case/ situation.  Every case is different. 

William Turley
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“When I seek out professional advice, I don’t want B.S., I want it straight up. I figure you do also.”
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