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Required to carry cell Phone at all times (California) California

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  • Required to carry cell Phone at all times (California) California

    I am in a part-time/ student intern position and I'm paid hourly. Our entire department (we're all hourly employees) are required to carry a company provided cell phone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I have never seen the policy and I don't even think it exists as a company policy. My boss just sends out emails to our group reminding us of this "policy" when someone doesn't answer their phone on an evening or weekend.

    Once in awhile, we're called and asked to come into the office to handle something, but more often than not, we're called 2-3 times a day and just asked questions that take a few minutes to answer. We do not get paid for any of this time unless we actually come into work or we're required to open our laptop and work from home. If we ask about compensation, we're essentially given crap for it.

    This is pretty frustrating, because we are all to ALWAYS be available and there is no rotating on-call schedule. I have to lug my phone from room to room as I walk around my house, and I have to take it with me everywhere I go outside of the house. I feel like I have no freedom and I can never relax and take my mind off work. Today I got an email reminder of the "policy," because I was called twice this weekend while I was taking my dogs out to go to the bathroom and I wasn't available. The number that called me was private and they did not leave a message, so I had no way of calling them back.

    If I was on salary, I wouldn't mind, but I'm an underpaid hourly employee.

    Long story short- can someone point me to the section of the California Labor Law that deals with this type of situation specifically? I would like to read up on it and know my rights.

    Any advice would also be great!


  • #2
    I think I've found the answer to most this already quite a few times in other threads. Looks like I'd better either just deal with it, or find a new job.

    What about pay though? If I'm called and I'm on the phone for 5 minutes answering a question on one of the systems I manage, should I be paid? For 5 minutes? Or a minimum of 2 hours or something?

    Also, if I'm called and required to work for 20 minutes, then I'm done working, but I'm called later in the same day for a different issue, does the same 2 hour minimum cover both?



    • #3
      There is no two hour minimum requirement under either federal or CA rules. You generally need to be paid for actual time worked, although if the call literally took a minute, there is a federal rule which would consider that not hours worked. The main on call rule talks about severely restricting the employees activities and carrying a cell phone by itself is not considered by the government to do that.

      The following is a quote from the CA-DLSE manual. Federal Cases. While there are no reported California state cases directly on point, the federal case of Berry v. County of Sonoma, 30 F.3d 1174 (9th Cir.1994), discusses the problems raised in determining, even under the broader FLSA standard, the proper application of the rule to the factual situation in each case. The County of Sonoma case set out the factors which must be considered in determining whether restrictions placed on employees during on-call hours were so extensive that such time should be deemed “hours worked” under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). According to the Court, those factors include: (1) whether there are excessive geographical restrictions on employees’ movements; (2) whether the frequency of calls is unduly restrictive; (3) whether a required response time is unduly restrictive; (4) whether the on call employee can easily trade his or her on-call responsibilities with another employee, and (6) the etent of personal activities engaged in during on-call time. (O.L. 1998.12.28)
      "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
      Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


      • #4
        This is exactly what I was looking for. Thank you!!


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