With all that cash to constantly guard, do Brink's Armored Car crews get coffee and piss breaks? Well, yes and no. They can take breaks but they better not look like they're having one. As a company notice says, "The security and operational rules and procedures applicable to Brink's employees assigned to work on armored vehicle crews and in other positions remain in effect at all times during such break periods." Furthermore:
Keep in mind the fact that you must not only be alert, you must look alert. Only in this way can you convince the criminal element that it would be foolhardy to attack your crew or premises.
Not only would a guard have to speed pee while watching the guy at the next urinal, he had to note it in his log book.
To Brink's guard Megan Pellino, doing your job while taking a break didn't sound like much of a break. So in 2007 she filed a class action lawsuit against Brink's on behalf of herself and other crew members who worked the armored trucks in Seattle and Tacoma.
By requiring guards to look, and be, alert during rest and meal breaks violated state law, she claimed.
And indeed it did, a judge agreed last year, rejecting Brink's argument that vigilance during breaks required only a "passive state" of alert.
Noting that a former branch manager said it was the "culture" of Brink's to not take breaks, King County Superior Court Judge Michael Trickey found that "Even when crew members went to the bathroom, it was a hurried process."
He awarded 182 messengers and drivers damages in the amount of $874,775.70 in back pay, $422,536.75 in prejudgment interest, and $799,155.98 in attorney fees and costs.
And yesterday the state Court of Appeals upheld that $2 million decision, turning back Brink's attempt to overturn Trickey's ruling.
The "trial court's unchallenged findings in this case establish that Brink's drivers and messengers were always engaged in work activities," the appeals court said, "and even if the crews had the opportunity to take breaks, there was insufficient time."
To which those guard at the urinal can only say, ahhhh.