Employees Forced to Remain On-Call without Pay - Aiman-Smith & Marcy
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Employees Forced to Remain On-Call without Pay

California law is very strict when it comes to overtime, being on call, and the wages that employees need to be paid. Any employer who doesn’t follow these guidelines could find themselves in legal trouble. Any employee who feels like they aren’t being paid properly should consult with an experienced employment lawyer to make sure that they aren’t being taken advantage of.

What rights do employees have when it comes to overtime? 

California is strict when it comes to forcing overtime. Employees who regularly work overtime can suffer, so the state likes to limit how much overtime a single worker can do. The government knows that people who work overtime are more likely to make mistakes. Their health and personal life can also suffer, so employers should try to limit as much overtime as possible.

That being said, anyone who works more than eight hours a day is entitled to overtime pay. They need to be paid extra for every minute that they work over their eight hours for that day, even if they don’t work forty hours that week. 

What about those employees who are on call? 

For employees who are paid hourly, they deserve to be compensated for time that they are on call. It shouldn’t matter whether they are forced to remain at their place of employment, or they are allowed to be at home.

Even if they are at home, they are going to be restricted in their activities, so they should be paid for their time. If they are on call and they have to be able to report to work within a certain amount of time (a half an hour or an hour), they aren’t going to be able to do certain things. They are going to have to remain close to home so that they can make it back to work on time. They won’t be able to go to a party and partake in alcohol because they won’t be able to go back to work with a clear head (if needed).

So, what does this mean? It means that any employee who is on-call isn’t really off duty. They are going to have to watch everything that they do the whole time, just in case they have to go back to work.

How did this all come about? 

In 1984, the Supreme Court of California had a case that changed everything for employees who were required to be on-call. The case of Madera Police Officers Assn. v. City of Madera made a precedent that placed constraints on employees who were on call.

Employers finally realized that their employees who were on call had to act a certain way during their time on-call. They had to act with their normal code of conduct. They were also restricted from travel and the things that they could do because they might have to hurry into work. In fact, their time couldn’t really be considered time off, so they deserve to be compensated for it!

So, what can you do if you think that you may have a case against your employer? 

If you believe that you aren’t being paid fairly in California, don’t hesitate to contact us at the Law Offices of Aiman-Smith & Marcy. We will be happy to meet with you to discuss what is going on at work. You can let us know if you aren’t being paid for overtime or your time on-call. At that time, we will be able to discuss your options and decide how you want to proceed. We will fight for your rights so that you can get paid fairly.