The office of New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is investigating 13 of the Nation’s large retailers regarding whether increasingly unpredictable and on-call work schedules in the retail sector violate New York labor laws. New York’s top legal officials are investigating a common staffing trend that require employees to be available for short-notice work shifts through a call-in system which will determine whether or not they will have a shift for the next day or even in a few hours. In some cases shifts are even canceled and workers are told to stay home from a scheduled shift with little advance warning.
Letters from the New York Attorney General’s offices were reportedly send to Gap, Target, Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew, L Brands Inc., Burlington Coat Factory, TJX Cos., Urban Outfitters Inc., Crocs Inc., Ann Inc., Sears Holdings, Williams-Sonoma Inc. and JC Penney. The letter stated that the Attorney General’s office has received reports that a growing number of employers, particularly in the retail industry, require hourly workers to work on-call shifts. These on-call shifts require employees to call in to work within a set timeframe, ranging from the night before a shift to only hours before a shift would begin on the day of, to determine whether the worker needs to appear for work. According to reports, if the employee is told that his or her services are not needed, the employee would receive no pay for that day nor compensation for their on-call time, despite being required to be available for work during the allotted time.
Such scheduling practices may violate a New York law, according to the Attorney General’s office. The law requires that employees who report for a scheduled shift on any day have to be paid for at least four hours at the basic minimum hourly wage. While employees who are on call-in such a manner are told weather or not to report in to work upon calling-in, authorities are wondering whether or not the practice of requiring employees to call-in in such a way should lend itself to compensation. Should these retailers be found in violation of the New York labor laws, there could be costly legal complications in their future.
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