Workplace Claims: Should Workers Be Paid for Mandatory “Call Ins?”

June 1, 2015 - Victoria’s Secret Stores LLC workers are raising the question of whether or not retail employees who are required to call in to see if a shift is available or not should be paid simply for the mandatory call. It’s a new type of workplace claim that will be put to the test in federal appellate court.

Plaintiffs in the putative class action lawsuit seek payment for mandatory calls in their workplace. The petition for interlocutory appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals followed a rare grant from U.S. District Judge George H. Wu to file due to what he referred to as the “novelty” of the legal question being presented.

Since the only precedent for the case is Judge Wu’s original dismissal followed by his grant to file for interlocutory appeal, the 9th Circuit holds a lot of power in their hands. They will be the deciding factor. The employment law industry will either see this new and “novel” issue nipped in the bud or they could see an entirely new and fertile area for workplace grievances leading to worker lawsuits. This case could result in a new area of claims for employees as many large chains have call in policies for their workers.

The lawsuit was filed by Mayra Casas and Julio Fernandez. The suit is based on California’s reporting time laws requiring a minimum amount of pay when an employee is required to report to work, but they aren’t needed or no work is available at the appointed time. California is one of eight states with similar reporting time laws (including New York). The California reporting time laws guarantees employees will receive up to 4 hours of pay when they report for an 8-hour shift that is cancelled, resulting in the employee being sent home without working. Up until this point, the focus has been on employees who physically report in to their workstations. Whether or not similar guarantees should be in place for call in claims is the current question.

In the current lawsuit between Victoria’s Secret Stores LLC and Casas/Fernandez, it has been pointed out that employees abiding by the retail chain store’s call in policy must arrange their entire schedule around the need to call in 2 hours prior to a potential shift. Sometimes employees are required to do so up to five times in one week. Legal representation for the plaintiffs are pointing out the difficulties this poses in regards to scheduling daycare, etc. as proof of the need for a change.  

For additional information on California workplace claims and California reporting time law, contact the southern California employment law attorneys at Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.