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Thread: "On Call" hours and limits Colorado

  1. #1
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    Default "On Call" hours and limits Colorado

    Hello I live in Colorado and have just left an employer for requiring myself and fellow employee to be on call, within 20 minutes of office with no option for days off or excused periods. We work a normal mon-fri 8-5 but are required to be on call at all times outside of that schedule. if we are called in we are only paid once we reach the office and clock in. I have no written agreement with the employer and the verbal during hiring was of an on call rotation. I work for a private company in an hourly capacity, we are provided a cell phone that must be answered or we will be terminated. My questions are these:

    Is it legal to require an employee to be on call 24/7 with no breaks or actual time off? Or is there a time limit? (my fellow employee has been doing this for over 9 months)

    Are we required to be compensated for any time we spend responding to the office or any other reason?

    I only ask because this on call status did put a pretty major stop to much of my life. I was forced to leave many dinners, movies, family events and even medical appts. Also could not vacation other than with 6 weeks notice and accrued paid time off and that doesn't begin to accrue until after your first year. I am not necessarily looking for back pay or compensation I would just like to put a stop to it if they are taking advantage of hard working individuals. Thank you

  2. #2
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    Is it legal to require an employee to be on call 24/7 with no breaks or actual time off?
    Probably legal.

    Or is there a time limit? (my fellow employee has been doing this for over 9 months)
    No time limit.

    Are we required to be compensated for any time we spend responding to the office or any other reason?
    This is complicated. The main federal labor law is FLSA, passed in 1938. Most major issues including "on-call" were resolved in he 1940s, well before cell phones and pagers. The related regulation is 29 CFR 785.17 and it looks to whether the employees is "sufficenlty restricted" and that phrase means whatever the courts say it means. Under FLSA all hours are either hours worked or not hours worked, with nothing in between. Legally either you are being "sufficently restricted" that you are working or you are not, in which case you are also not working. No middle ground,
    http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text...1.2.45.3.445.8

    The offical standard says to look at "all factors", not just time to report to work. There is no magic noumber of minutes that causes "sufficently restricted" to occur. I can say that it is hard to find a case in which less then 15 minutes is not "suffiicently restricted".

    Basically you need to tell your story to a CO judge or ALJ, (as will the employer), who will then look at related CO specific cases to find out where prior decisions have drawn the line.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

  3. #3
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    That answers that I suppose, perhaps I should explore the safety issues that exist with the long shifts we were forced to work ( until 4am and beyond in some cases) then back to work at 8am. I thought for sure there were laws and/or regulations against that excluding emergency services and to answer your question, yes, I am out to get this particular entity whom on many occasions stated that he could do what he wanted to whomever he wanted due to the rough job market. Basically my way or your fired. I am not sure if this is the appropriate forum but any input on the safety/short turnover issue?

    Oh and thank you very much for such a fast and complete response!!

  4. #4
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    This is a very different issue then on-call. There is no general federal rule on maximum hours actual worked. There are some specific rules limiting hours actually worked, such as airline pilots, long haul truck drivers and minor children employees. But none of these rules have anything to do with on-call per se or effect emergency services workers per se.

    Your state is not my state and I have no specific CO information.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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