On-Call Shifts: Controversial Scheduling Method Under Scrutiny

On-Call Shifts Controversial Scheduling Method Under ScrutinyOn-call shifts have long been a part of retail workplace culture. What is intended to be a policy to save the retailer money in labor costs is causing uproar among retail employees. The actual legal implications of this scheduling, which are now being investigated by the New York attorney general’s labor bureau, is affecting 13 separate retailers nationwide. During this extensive litigation process, be sure your staffing agency clients are protected against Staffing Wage Theft Claims.

Although on-call shifts have historically been viewed as a downside to many emergency responders such as police men and doctors, they are compensated for the hassle of the shifts. However, retail employees are not given the same luxury. For example, the Urban Outfitters’ employee handbook requires that the employee call one hour prior to their on-call shift to see whether or not they need to report for work.

Although these shifts are dependent on sales and foot traffic, the same employee handbook claims that they are considered scheduled shifts and the same attendance policy applies to them as a regularly scheduled shift. The issue lies in the fact that employees are in limbo each day to determine if they work or not, and if the shift is canceled, they are not compensated and have lost out on time they could be working elsewhere.

A Victoria’s Secret lawsuit is simultaneously taking place in California, which was sparked by the New York attorney general’s office. Mayra Casas, a former California Victoria’s Secret sales clerk, is suing for wage theft as a result of these shifts. Her lawsuit is pushing for companies to be required to pay their part-time employees should their on-call shift be canceled without at least 24 hours’ notice.

As many employees are unaware, the California Department of Industrial Relations states that if the employee shows up to work, the employer must pay for half of the usual or scheduled day’s work at his or her regular rate of pay, even if the full shift is not completed. Therefore, the lawsuit is seeking to provide the same courtesy for employees whose shifts are canceled prior to physically showing up.

However, “reporting for work” is a broad term in California and poses a question of what it actually constitutes-physical presence or not. Although a judge for Casas’ case ruled that “reporting for work” required physical presence, an offer to appeal the ruling in the 9th Circuit was granted.

If this lawsuit gains as much traction and influence in the retail industry as needed, there will be immense economic and legal consequences for retailer. This is the first case of its kind, so the interpretation could be widely influential nationwide. It will provide a more steady income for employees, reduce unnecessary childcare costs where applicable, and reduce stress among retail workers.

As this lawsuit unravels and the retail world is altered, World Wide Specialty Programs is here to accommodate your staffing insurance needs. We understand that many of your clients may have retail assignments for which they place their candidates. Given that these lawsuits and investigations could affect your clients as well, it’s important to ensure their policies are up-to-date. For more information about how we can serve your clients, contact us today at (877) 256-0468.