New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman continues to go after retailers that his office says are using potentially unlawful “on-call” shift systems.
As part of an ongoing investigation, Schneiderman — along with officials from AG offices in seven other states, including Illinois, California and Connecticut — sent letters to a number of large retail companies requesting information about their use of on-call shifts.
According to Schneiderman, many employees assigned to on-call shifts must call their employer, typically an hour or two before a scheduled shift, to find out if they will be assigned to work that day. If a worker then learns his or her services are not required, he or she receives no compensation, “even though the employee was required to be available for work, to forgo other job and educational opportunities.”
“On-call shifts are unfair to workers who must keep the day free, arrange for child care, and give up the chance to get another job or attend a class — often all for nothing,” said Schneiderman in a statement Wednesday. “On-call shifts are not a business necessity, as we see from the many retailers that no longer use this unjust method of scheduling work hours.”
According to the attorney general’s office, New York State has a “call in pay” regulation that says “an employee who by request or permission of the employer reports for work on any day shall be paid for at least four hours, or the number of hours in the regularly scheduled shift, whichever is less, at the basic minimum hourly wage.”
This isn’t the first time Schneiderman has scrutinized retailers using the scheduling practice. In 2015, he sent letters to several retailers, including Crocs, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, J.Crew, Urban Outfitters and L Brands, regarding their use of on-call scheduling. The AG’s office said all retailers contacted in 2015 ultimately agreed to end the practice of assigning on-call shifts.