In a previous tidbit, we told you about accusations by the New York Attorney General’s office that about a dozen retailers were engaging in problematic scheduling practices. By requiring employees to be on-call, the retailers might have been in violation of a law that requires employers to pay workers at least four hours’ worth of wages if they arrive for a shift, even if they are sent home earlier. Although a legal case is ongoing, Abercrombie & Fitch decided to avoid the issue altogether and halt the practice completely. Victoria’s Secret came to a similar decision. Other retailers appear to be taking a wait-and-see option. The legal case has reached the Ninth Circuit Appeals Court, which must determine if on-call practices are acceptable. The retailers likely will argue that because of the widespread use of mobile devices, employees can be alerted quickly about whether they need to arrive for a shift, such that they do not actually need to show up in the store, which overcomes that element of the law. Employees counter that being on call means that they must arrange their schedules and other responsibilities, such as child care, in advance, so even if they do not commute to work, being told not to come in imposes a burden on them.
Source: Lauren Weber, The Wall Street Journal, August 6, 2015