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being on call everyday you work with no compensation Illinois Illinois

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  • being on call everyday you work with no compensation Illinois Illinois

    Place of employment is having every one of their employees be on call every single day they work. They are required to answer their employee issued pager for overtime either 4 hrs before the start of their shift and 4 hrs after their shift. No compensation is given for this, and progressive discipline has been threatened if a person does not answer their page. My question is if this is legal? Can the employer have it both ways where all of its employees about 70 of them are on call every single day for 8 hrs and not compensate them and still discipline to the point of firing them if they do not answer? This is not a place either where it is just a once in a while mandated overtime scenario, this is a daily occurence on mulitple shifts. Hundreds and hundreds of mandated overtime slots happen every year because of the place being staffed at minimums because it saves money by paying overtime to employees instead of hiring more employees. Staffing is non-negotiable as well I guess so I am looking for advice.

    Thank you.

  • #2
    Probably legal. How much time to you have to report to work?
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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    • #3
      How long do they have to respond if paged? How often does someone actually get paged? Can they put the pager in their pocket and go about their business as long as they respond, or are they tied to a desk?
      The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by DAW View Post
        Probably legal. How much time to you have to report to work?
        Depends when they page. Usually at least 2 hrs though. They will page at all hours of the night everynight though for volunteers, then finally a mandate page. Sometimes within 4 hrs you will get 3-5 pages that you have to check to see if you are getting mandated or if it's just a general page. So everybight you or anyone sleeping in the room with you are woken up by numerous pages and not able to get any kind of sleep.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by cbg View Post
          How long do they have to respond if paged? How often does someone actually get paged? Can they put the pager in their pocket and go about their business as long as they respond, or are they tied to a desk?
          There are 3 shifts and people from each shift are mandated almost everyday numerous times a day for available overtime. If no one volunteers to take it they mandate someone for it. You are allowed to carry your pager with you but it can testify certain people for instance if they went to a wedding more than 2 hrs away and would be able to report for their regular shift on time but if they get mandated they wouldn't be able to get there in 2 hrs. They have to respond in 20 mins to acknowledge they got the page.

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          • #6
            If the majority of pages are just seeking volunteers, that isn't going to be enough to warrant pay for the on call time. Neither would restrictions such as not being 2 hours away at a wedding. There does seem to be a limit on when one would be expected to answer; 4 hours surrounding the shift. The 5 seconds it takes to glance at the pager and see if it is mandatory they come in or not is not unduly burdensome. Annoying perhaps, but not so restrictive as to require the time be paid.
            I post with the full knowledge and support of my employer, though the opinions rendered are my own and not necessarily representative of their position. In other words, I'm a free agent.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ElleMD View Post
              If the majority of pages are just seeking volunteers, that isn't going to be enough to warrant pay for the on call time. Neither would restrictions such as not being 2 hours away at a wedding. There does seem to be a limit on when one would be expected to answer; 4 hours surrounding the shift. The 5 seconds it takes to glance at the pager and see if it is mandatory they come in or not is not unduly burdensome. Annoying perhaps, but not so restrictive as to require the time be paid.
              All the pages come out asking for volunteers first, but if no one volunteers within 15 mins of that page at say midnight for an 0300-0700 slot then it will be mandated. It's safe to say no one ever volunteers for a 3am slot after going to bed a few hours earlier. Happens everyday almost and no one ever knows when to go to sleep.

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              • #8
                FLSA is a 1930s law and there is case law going back to the 1940s, including some SCOTUS decisions. This is mostly very decided law.
                • SCOTUS is the Supreme Court of the United States and law does not get any more settled then this.
                • If it takes you 1 minute to look at the page or answer the phone, then per SCOTUS this is 1 minute of work time.
                • Carrying a phone or page is nothing per SCOTUS.
                • Physically reporting to work quickly is a big deal per SCOTUS. Working at home or in your car or such is not nothing, but it is much closer to being nothing then something per SCOTUS.
                • Perhaps the big cases are some appellate level cases regarding police officers being required to physically report to within 15 minutes of being called/page. That (depending of the court) crossed the "sufficently restricted" line. You can complain about having to carry a paper or being woken up but SCOTUS is very clear that this is legally nothing.
                • The FLSA "on call" regulation uses a "sufficiently restricted" standard. Any on call claim has to be framed using that standard. And SCOTUS has hard defined pretty much everything but the required time to report, which uses an "all factors" standard.
                "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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