Forced-To-Stay-On-Call-Without-Pay.jpg (2149×1159)On-call pay can be a mystery for employees. Do you have the right to get paid for your on-call time at work? It really comes down to whether or not your time belongs mostly to you or to your employer. If you spend a considerable portion of your time working or waiting you may be entitled to on-call pay. The more restricted your time, the more likely you are to have the right to be paid. Here’s a look at the details of on-call pay to help you better understand your rights and responsibilities as an on-call employee.

On Site

You have the right to be paid for your time any time you are on-call at your physical workplace. If an employer requires you be on-site during on-call hours, then those automatically qualify as paid hours. If your job is to facilitate phone calls and you have to sit at a desk waiting for the calls to come in, your employer is required to pay you for all the time you spend waiting, not just the time you are on the phone.
The same goes for working from home. If you are expected to sit at a desk or wait for calls in a manner in which you are not free to go elsewhere, then your employer must pay you for your time. On the other hand, if you are free to do things not related to your work while on-call, your employer may not be required to pay you for your time.

Off Site

When working off-site or from home, things can become a little more complicated. In some cases, an employee may have to prove that being on-call restricts them from their normal daily activities in order to qualify for on-call pay. If you are capable of going shopping or participating in leisure activities while on-call, a court would likely agree with an employer that your on-call duties do not qualify as paid time.
If being on call restricts your daily activities, however, then your time does qualify for on-call pay. Off-site, on-call time will also qualify you for on-call pay if you receive frequent phone calls or in the case that you are expected to report back to a superior quickly or frequently.


Thanks to the widespread use of cellphones, many employees can remain on-call without being forced to stay in one singular location. It’s important to remember that if you are required by your employer to remain in one location while on-call, you are entitled to wages for that time, whether or not you end up doing any work.

After Hours

Being on-call after hours does not automatically qualify an employee for overtime pay, but it is important to note how being on-call affects your life outside of work. If you are restricted from drinking alcohol while on-call, for instance, then you should be compensated for your time. Any time that is not “free” for you to do what you might normally do is time your employer should pay for.

On A Call

Once you are working, whether that means being called to the work site or being put on a call from elsewhere, you are entitled to appropriate wages. None of the time you spend on the phone or on-site should ever go unpaid. It can be tough to prove to a court that your on-call time is eligible for pay, but the time you spend actually working while on-call should always be paid time no matter what. Be sure to log the time you spend working accurately while on-call.

Contact A Lawyer

If your employer is forcing you to work on-call without pay, it’s time to talk to a lawyer. An experienced legal team can help you find out whether or not you are entitled to on-call pay for your time. Knowing your rights is our job. Aiman-Smith & Marcy is a small law firm in California specializing in employment law and consumer fraud. Contact us today to help get you the pay you deserve.

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Lisseth Bayona


Education and Background

I am a Los Angeles native and daughter of Salvadorian immigrants. From an early age, my parents instilled the value of hard work and education in me and my two siblings. Their perseverance enabled each of us to graduate from college and earn professional degrees.

My interest and commitment to workers’ rights have roots in my parents’ experiences as undocumented workers in Los Angeles. Witnessing the challenges they faced inspired me to pursue a career where I can help individuals confronted with similar struggles. To help someone in those moments is very satisfying. I love connecting with people and learning about their stories. I believe that dignity in the workplace is a right of all workers, not a convenience or privilege reserved for employees of a certain race, gender, age, sexual orientation, or gender identity.

Legal Experience

I received my J.D. from the University of Southern California (USC) Gould School of Law. While there, I served as a judicial extern to the Honorable Patrick J. Walsh of the United States District Court for the Central District of California, where I drafted a criminal judicial opinion. Also, while at Gould, I served as an extern for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California. As a Criminal Division Extern, I had the opportunity to work closely with a trial team of Assistant U.S. Attorneys on a money laundering case which further sparked my interest in litigation.

Personal Interests

In my free time, I enjoy urban vegetable gardening, traveling, and spending time with my nephew and niece. I also love to spend time at San Onofre Beach learning to surf, although admittedly, I am not very good.



Hallie L. Von Rock

Attorney (SBN 233152)

Education and Background

I moved to the Bay Area from Washington after graduating high school. I had been accepted to UC Berkeley through a program where I could defer for two years while getting my California residency and attending community college, which was significant since I was paying for college on my own. I began working for Randall Aiman-Smith and Reed Marcy in 1996 as an office manager while taking night classes. My first foray into the legal world was soon after starting at the firm when I was ready to transfer to UC Berkeley. Rather than accepting my resident status, the Board of Regents took the position that California residency required a student to be in California “two calendar years.” Randall and Reed took up my case with the same verve as they helped their actual clients and I got the chance to comb through the UC Berkeley library to read their codes and regulations to support my position. In that experience, I learned what is was like to feel helpless against a big organization and then to have dedicated attorneys in my corner to take up my cause.

After a break to pursue my major in art history, I went to UC Hastings College of Law and continued working with Randall and Reed. Having worked together now for over 25 years, we have a unique ability to work collaboratively and finish each other’s sentences. I have strived throughout my career to make a difference in the lives of our clients. At the end of the day, if I am helping someone to get compensation for losses they suffered, then I know that all the work put into a case has been worth it.

Legal Experience

I have extensive experience in civil litigation and class action cases, including conducting discovery and depositions, calculating damages analysis, preparing motions for certification, writing appellate documents, and overseeing claims administration. We have handled several class actions against retailers where plaintiffs claimed they were forced to purchase clothing to wear to work and were not compensated for these purchases, including against Abercrombie & Fitch, Hugo Boss, Armani Exchange, Uniqlo, Dollar Tree, and Ross. Recently, I was trial counsel in a defamation claim against Bank of America on behalf of a former employee who claimed the Bank blacklisted her with future employers. The jury found Bank of America liable, including for punitive damages.

Personal Interests

Aiman-Smith & Marcy has sponsored me in the Boston Marathon and New York Marathon. When I race, I often wear a “Rockstar Ronan” shirt to support research for childhood cancer through The Ronan Thompson Foundation.


University of California, Berkeley, B.A., 1999

Hastings College of the Law, University of California, J.D., 2004

Randall Aiman-Smith

Abogado (SBN 124599)

Aiman-Smith & Marcy. Oakland consumer fraud attorneys.

Educación y antecedentes

Fui afortunado. A pesar de no haber terminado la escuela secundaria o la universidad, pude -aunque con mucho trabajo- ser admitido y sobresalir en una de las mejores escuelas de derecho del país: La Facultad de Derecho de la Universidad de Berkeley. Mientras estuve allí, tuve el privilegio de ser editor de la California Law Review y miembro del Moot Court Board, asesorando en la redacción de escritos y en la defensa de apelaciones a otros estudiantes. Después de salir de la escuela de derecho, en mis primeros años de práctica, enseñé la escritura legal y la defensa de apelación en la Universidad de California, Hastings College of the Law. También, a lo largo de los años, he sido presentador en eventos de educación legal continua.

Experiencia legal

He sido abogado durante 35 años. He dedicado mi práctica exclusivamente a representar a empleados, consumidores e inversores en los tribunales estatales y federales de primera instancia y en los tribunales de apelación. Me gusta ir a los tribunales por mis clientes y he llevado muchos casos con jurado en los tribunales estatales y federales.

¿Ejemplos? En 2010, fui la abogada principal, junto con los otros abogados del bufete, en el caso Williams v. Union Pacific Railroad donde, después de cuatro años de preparación, el bufete obtuvo un veredicto del jurado de 1.670.000 dólares para una empleada afroamericana. En Rivero v. Surdyka, fui el abogado principal en el juicio y la apelación de un caso de derechos civiles que duró 15 años, incluyendo un juicio completo y tres apelaciones al Noveno Circuito, concluyendo finalmente con una sentencia para los demandantes de más de 2.300.000 dólares. Estos casos ilustran el lema del bufete: compromiso – resultados. Hay que comprometerse con un caso, a veces durante mucho tiempo, para obtener el resultado que el cliente merece.

No siempre ganamos en el juicio. Cuando eso ocurre, el compromiso significa llevar el caso al siguiente nivel y recurrirlo. En el caso Rivero, antes mencionado, eso fue lo que ocurrió: el tribunal desestimó el caso -habíamos perdido- pero apelamos y conseguimos una victoria para nuestros clientes que mantuvimos a través de dos apelaciones más. Desde entonces, el bufete ha conseguido muchas victorias en apelación que reivindican los derechos de los empleados y los consumidores.

A lo largo de los años he sido abogado de los demandantes en numerosos casos individuales y acciones colectivas. Puede sonar cursi, o difícil de creer, pero después de todo este tiempo, y después de todas las grandes experiencias que he tenido, mi parte favorita de ser abogado es cuando consigo dar un cheque a mi cliente.



Facultad de Derecho, Universidad de California, Berkeley, J.D., 1986