California law places limits on forced overtime for workers. Outside of safety standards, there is no legal labor requirement to stop an employee from working as many hours of overtime as he or she wishes, but an hourly or non-exempt employee who works more than 8 hours in a day must be paid extra for every hour that they work at overtime rates.
In the case of hourly workers who are responsible for remaining on call, companies may be required to pay hourly wages to workers who are forced to remain on premises, or even those whose off-duty activity is restricted by the requirement to report to work if called in.
For example, an hourly worker who must report to work within a given time if called is limited in his or her ability to travel to locations outside of the work area during off-duty hours; thus the worker must be paid for his or her waiting time.
Case law decided by the Supreme Court of California in 1984 in the case of Madera Police Officers Assn. v. City of Madera established the precedent that constraints placed on employees’ activities and conduct during off times, which require them to follow their employer’s code of conduct and obligate them to perform work duties, convert the employees’ off duty time to work time — and thus entitle the employees to on-call compensation. If you and your colleagues are subject to restrictions that keep you from spending your personal time as you please in order to remain ready to report to work, if called, contact an expert employment lawyer at the Law Offices of Aiman-Smith & Marcy to determine whether you may qualify for collective action for additional wages and benefits.