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Odd on call situation in Az Arizona

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  • Odd on call situation in Az Arizona

    I work for a company that locates underground utilities in AZ. Generally there is no set time to come to work but we are responsible for our areas until 5pm. Everyone usually starts around 6am and we start getting emergency calls and damage calls as early as that. Lately they have been changing our hours daily and sometimes telling us to cut out after our 8 hours but we are still responsible for our areas until 5. For example, on Veterans Day, they told all but a couple locators to take the day off. Yesterday, I worked 11 hours, 6am - 5pm, then today I get a message saying to leave after my 8, which was 2pm, but I have to watch my area till 5. I live about 45 minutes to an hour away. If they tell me to quit working at 8 hours, can I still make them pay me if I have to hang out in my area until 5? My only other option is to go in @ 9 and work till 5. Right now, I'm still in my work clothes with my work computer in receive mode in case something comes up before 5, (unknown lines, emergencies, ect), but am sitting at home... Thoughts?

  • #2
    This is legally complictated. There is a specific on-call regulation and a ton of case law going back to the 1940s, so any and all arguments you can make have already been made before and decided. The key standard per SCOTUS is whether or not your time is "sufficently restricted", which means whatever the courts says it means, and they have said alot. SCOTUS specifically says that ALL factors need to be looked to see if time is sufficently restricted.
    - Being forced to wear work clothes would depend on lot on the nature of the clothes. If we are talking about a suit and tie, legally no big deal. If you are a butcher and are literally dripping blood, then there is an actual case on this that would care. If we are talking something in between, then it would be a function of researching the very specific case law associated with your very specific type of clothes and industry, your state and maybe phases of the moon. Generally clothes does not matter; it is not one of the key factors directly mentioned by SCOTUS.
    - Computers may or may not matter. Just carrying a lap top or cell phone is nothing by itself. Telling someone to stay logged onto a desktop computer ties that person to a physical location, which does matter to SCOTUS. Having a logged in portable computer may or may not matter. I could argue it is functionally similar to a cell phone or pager, which legally do not matter.
    - Being forced to stay in a specific area is maybe interesting. Time required to report to work after the call is one of the list of factors specified by SCOTUS. But there is no one magic number used by everyone. There are court cases involving police officers (in the same state) that break both ways at the 15 minutes mark.
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
    Philip K. **** (1928-1982)


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