JC Penney, Gap and Sears Among 13 Companies Investigated for ‘On Call’ Shifts

06/03/2015 // Keller Grover LLP // (press release)

New York, NY— The popular practice of having employees on standby should a retail store become busy, otherwise known as “on call” shifts, are under fire by the New York attorney general, who launched an investigation into 13 major retailers’ shift scheduling methods, reports California wage and hour lawyer Eric Grover of the Keller Grover law firm.

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman is looking into the widespread practice of “on call shifts,” where employees are given as little as a few hours notice of when they are scheduled to work. Sometimes “on call” employees are told to stay home due to being “slow,” which they are not compensated for, CNN Money reported.

Schneiderman sent 13 letters to Target, Sears, Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Burlington Stores, Crocs, JC Penney, J. Crew, Williams Sonoma, Urban Outfitters, Ann Taylor, L Brands, and TJX, the owner of TJ Maxx and Marshalls.

The letter asserts that employees scheduled for these shifts "experience adverse financial and health effects, as well as overall stress and strain on family life."

Under New York employment laws, employees who show up for a shift are required to be paid at least four hours at minimum wage.

Gap said in a statement that they are committed to "sustainable scheduling practices that will improve stability for our employees, while helping to effectively manage our business."

Sears stated that they are “looking into the matter and plans to cooperate with the Attorney General.”

TJX, the owner of T.J. Maxx and Marshalls, said its schedules are designed to "serve the needs" of both the workers and the company and that they treat employees with "dignity and respect."

The rest of the companies have not commented at this time.

“’On call shifts are nothing more than a staffing security net that put employees at a disadvantage by not providing predictable schedules (http://www.cawagehourlaw.com/san-francisco-enacts-new-scheduling-laws-to-curb-wage-discrimination_107.html),” says Grover. “Employees often wait hours with the hope of being able to report to an ‘on call’ shift, only to receive notice as little as an hour before, stating they don’t need to report to work. That is lost time that employee will never get back that could have been used earning an income through other opportunities. If retailers need ‘on call’ employees then they should provide some sort of compensation regardless if they report to work or not.”

The attorneys at the California wage and hour law firm of Keller Grover have been helping victims of wage theft recover lost wages since 2005. To learn more wage laws and if you’ve been a victim, contact Keller Grover at 888.601. 6939.

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