SHRM Publishes McLaughlin and Petersen Article on California Pay Requirements for “On-Call” Shifts

The Society for Human Resource Management has published the article “California Workers May Be Owed Pay for Call-In Shifts,” written by Akin Gump labor and employment partner Gary McLaughlin and senior counsel Christopher Petersen. The article analyzes a ruling by the California Court of Appeal last month that employees in California “must be paid for certain ‘on-call’ shifts if they are required to check in to see if they’re needed for a scheduled shift but are told not to report to work.”

At issue in the case, Ward v. Tilly’s, Inc., was whether an employer could discipline employees “if they failed to call in before on-call shifts, if they called in late or if they refused to work the on-call shifts.” The authors write that the plaintiff “sought reporting time pay for the on-call shifts that employees called in for but did not work.”

The authors note that the court found the call-in system to be “burdensome on employees by requiring them to be available, preventing them from working other jobs or scheduling other activities, and making it difficult and potentially costly to arrange for child care.” In addition, employees “had to be available two hours before the shift start time to call in or contact the employer. The employer, on the other hand, benefited greatly from having a pool of employees readily available without any cost.”

McLaughlin and Petersen conclude by observing that the decision has important implications in California and suggest that “employers that use any type of call-in scheduling system should evaluate and reconsider their practices.” They add that the decision “is part of a broader predictive-scheduling trend at the state and local levels.”

To read the client alert on which the article is based, please click here.