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On Call in Illinois

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  • On Call in Illinois

    We are considering a law suit against our company for illegal on-call practices.
    We are required to be on call 24/7, and if we do not respond to 50% of the calls, 100% during a storm, we will be disciplined, and after 3 disciplines, we will be fired. Not knowing when a call will be, it makes for a miserable existance, or no time to live life. The lawyers say the company can not have it both ways, if they require us to be on call and discipline for poor response, they must pay us for being on call, they can not demand call out response with no compensation, so that in a nutshell is the case.

    We had an abitration case that the arbitrator noted that 50% was not a reasonable demand to put on employees without previous notification, he suggested 25%, but the company is ignoring his ruling and proceeding with discipline for those who did not have a 50% reponse. It is said that 11 people wil be fired Monday, April 4th,,,, for no other reason than, they were were not home enough when the company called.

    Is this a plausible/winable claim ?

  • #2
    On-Call Pay

    It is only "winnable" if the company forced you to remain at home or otherwise severely restricted your ability to pursue your personal interests. It has been shown that employees who have a relative amount of freedom, such as being able to be contacted via a cell phone, may not have to be paid on-call money. However, if the employer puts additional restrictions, such as you must respond without exception, it could be seen as overly restrictive.

    I don't know if filing a lawsuit will accomplish what you want to do. Your attorneys will make out alright. However, I believe that you may have almost as good of a chance (without the cost) by filing a complaint with the state. Another plus in doing so is that many states prohibit retaliation for filing a wage claim.
    Lillian Connell

    Forum Moderator
    www.laborlawtalk.com

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    • #3
      severely restricted,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, where can I get a definition ?
      I suppose there are several,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,



      Well,,,,,,,, here it also gets murky; "some" employees are issued company cell phones, that can be used for "additional" points of contact, some employees who are under the same scrutiny are not issued company phones. Are we chained to the kitchen table at home so we can respond to call outs? No, if you have cell phones you can leave the house, but,, be it at home,, where you may be babysitting, or caring for a sick family member, or at the mall, ball-game, funeral, or just out for a good time,,, you are required to stop everything, and come in,,, 50% of the time, never knowing when that time will be.
      So,,, one can "never" have a beer, with the guys, because you then would be unfit for duty,,,, in other words, we "never" have any time off, unless we are on vacation. Our contention is; tell us when we are on call,,, pay us for that time,, and then tell us when we are NOT on call so can be free Americans, to live life with our family and friends. Our company will not pay "any" on call time, they have chosen the low road. It is a real mess.
      -

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      • #4
        On-Call

        Where your employer can get into trouble is when they require that you must always be ready for duty and you must always respond to the calls. I believe that you can file a successful wage and hour claim.

        You can find information about filing a claim in Illinois by reviewing this link:http://www.state.il.us/agency/idol/forms/forms.htm
        Last edited by LConnell; 04-03-2005, 09:03 AM.
        Lillian Connell

        Forum Moderator
        www.laborlawtalk.com

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        • #5
          After our regular 8/40 hour shift,we are "always" required to available 50% of the time, and 100% of the time if there is a storm[ excluding vacation days]. But a storm can be 100 miles away, and we can still be called in, depending how big the storm is, there is no way to know if a storm in Chicago will require employees from far western Illinois, so if you live in the west, you have to "maybe" respond/stay home/,, or be disciplined. Classic cat and mouse.

          This is our law suit,,,, pay an on call penalty, or do not discipline for not responding at the 50 or 100% level, something less can be worked out.

          Comment


          • #6
            On-Call

            I understand your point on compensation but I still don't understand why you are pursuing this as a lawsuit. A lawsuit can be very costly. Further, filing a wage claim through the state will have a pretty good probablity of getting you the money.
            Lillian Connell

            Forum Moderator
            www.laborlawtalk.com

            Comment


            • #7
              The state dept of labor is limited to enforcing the state of illinois wage laws. Our lawsuit has the flexibility to pursue claims and remedies under both the Federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and applicable state laws. Further, the department of labor is not required to pursue all claims on our behalf. They have discretion to pursue those claims they believe are worth their limited time and resources. Thus, many claims are not pursued becasue of a lack of resources and manpower or for political reasons. Our case will not have these restraints and most importantly, we as the client maintain control over our claims and not a governmental entity.

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              • #8
                On-Call in Illnois

                Good luck then. Let us know how it turns out.
                Lillian Connell

                Forum Moderator
                www.laborlawtalk.com

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yes,I will, it may take some time,,, legal matters are on a different time scale,, as you must already know. Add to that, this may be a David vs. Goliath match as well.

                  Thanks for this forum to allow us all to find out things !

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    To Short-Timer,

                    I can't believe I found somebody going through almost the same thing I did for more than 3 years. I was an Armed Security Officer and was on solely "On-Call" status. No 8 to 5 or 9 to 6, strictly "On-Call". If I'm called I get paid, If i dont.....tough luck. Only difference is my company required me to answer 80 percent of my calls, either being at 8am or 10pm. Being armed I have to carry a firearm while onduty which restricted me to stay at home at all times..due to Illinois firearm laws. I understand what you're going through, the physical and mental stress of being on this lifeless schedule. Like you my company doesnt provide me with a cell phone, they called me on my personal cell phone. If you have a lawyer that states your case is valid I'd like to know how the HECK did you find one? All the Lawyers I've contacted can't get their head around the concept of "On-Call".. P.S. I also have a claim with not being reimbursed for my mileage under I.R.S. minimum standards but that's a different conversation..

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Short Timer has not been back since 2005.
                      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.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        If you want people to answer your questions, you need to post it in it's own thread. Make sure that state is correct.
                        "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                        Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

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