Employees’ Telephonic Check-In Is Compensable ‘On-Call’ Time

A clothing retailer who requires its employees to call in two hours prior to a potential shift to find out whether they must report to work that day must pay those employees, under the applicable wage order, for being “on-call” according to a ruling from the California Court of Appeal. Presiding Justice Lee S. Edmon of Div. Three wrote the opinion on the class action case handled by Bridgford, Gleason & Artinian, McNicholas & McNicholas and Frank Sims & Stolper.

The plaintiff Skylar Ward, sued her employer, Tilly’s, Inc., over its scheduling policy. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle sustained the defendant’s demurrer without leave to amend, ordering the case dismissed. Berle found that the call-in policy did not qualify as compensable “reporting time” under the Industrial Welfare Commission’s wage order 7, governing mercantile industry employees.

Edmon wrote, “[O]n-call shifts burden employees, who cannot take other jobs, go to school, or make social plans during on-call shifts—but who nonetheless receive no compensation from Tilly’s unless they ultimately are called in to work. This is precisely the kind of abuse that reporting time pay was designed to discourage.”

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