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  • on call time

    Hi. My employer has decided that they want to put us (hourly employees) on call for alternating weekends and holidays. We would be on call every 5 weeks, and are required to be arrive at work when called at a reasonable amount of time in the event of an emergency. We will not be allowed to travel for weekends, we will not be allowed to consume any alcohol, or go to an area where we may not have cell phone service.

    To me, this deserves compensation. Nobody should have that kind of control on your off-time from work. Does anyone know the real answer this?
    thank you.

  • #2
    What is a "reasonable time"?
    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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    • #3
      Originally posted by cbg View Post
      What is a "reasonable time"?
      It's not determined yet. But I will assume 30-45 minutes.

      Comment


      • #4
        Whether or not on-call time has to be paid for depends on how restricted your time is. In the days before cell phones and pagers, it was easier to convince the court/DOL that your time was restricted enough to require compensation. Nowadays, when you can stick a cell phone or your pager in your pocket and go about your business, it's harder.

        In no state to my knowledge has not being able to travel, not being able to drink alcohol, or having to stay within cell phone range been determined to be restrictive enough to require compensation. So none of those is going to help you. The amount of time you have to report when contacted, however, might.

        Once the amount of time within which you need to respond is determined, you can take all the facts to the CT DOL and see what they say. It will be their decision whether or not compensation is required - once again, in no state is simply being on call enough to require compensation.

        Patty or DAW may have some additional comments.
        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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        • #5
          Thank you for your response. I believe it will be no more than a 45 minute response time.

          Comment


          • #6
            Thank you for your response. I believe it will be no more than a 45 minute response time. A lot of the things I enjoy doing are over an hour away. This is going to restrict some of my most common hobbies that I cannot otherwise do during the week because my normal hours are evenings 3pm-11pm. So, they are significantly burdening me and my quality of life. To be able to do that without compensating me is absolutely asinine.

            Comment


            • #7
              Whether or not that will be considered so restrictive as to require compensation will be for the state of Connecticut, and only the state of Connecticut, to decide, however.
              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


              • #8
                Undersood.

                Thank you very much for answering my quesiton.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Agreed with the above. The problem is this. We have a 1940s era federal FLSA regulation (see below) with sixty plus years of court decisions. The regulation is not very clearly written, so we basically have a bunch of court decisions, all of the important ones occuring well before cell phones and pagers were invented. Basically the regulation says if hours are "sufficently restricted", then the hours are paid. And the hours are "sufficently restricted" if the courts say they are. Meaning different courts can and do have different ideas on the subject, and unless you are taking this to the U.S. Supreme Court (where the issue has been decided on several occasions previously), it means that CT-DOL is the only party whose opinion actually matters. CT-DOL will not try to reverse any of the big cases, but that leaves them a lot of room. More importantly, it means that a judge today in CT will look at prior CT decisions and decide the same way those decisions were made. Alcohol and long distance travel as stated are dead issues. High level court decisions nailed those doors shut back before the first Super Bowl was played. What is left is how much time is "enough", and courts do not agree. I can say that 15-20 minutes is where most courts draw the line. Not that your CT-DOL judge necessarily cares what most courts think. My FLSA lawbook has several pages discussing on call, and discusses maybe 6 court decisions, NONE of which are in CT.

                  https://www.dol.gov/dol/allcfr/ESA/T...9CFR785.17.htm
                  "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                  Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Easy for a 9-5 judge to rule on.
                    Last edited by Devils; 11-17-2010, 05:24 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      If it were that "easy", every judge would rule exactly the same way. They do not.

                      Doing this
                      I informed them that if they are not paying me, I am going to go about my business as I normally would - doing what I wish, and where I want to do it.
                      could get you legally fired in a state with over 9% unemployment, and almost certainly with NO unemployment benefits.

                      You'd be SO much better off if you worked the on-call time as required then, after a representative period, say 3-6 months, filed a wage claim and let the state make the decision.

                      But, hey, if this is the hill you want to die on, that's your decision.
                      Last edited by Pattymd; 11-17-2010, 04:06 PM.
                      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                      • #12
                        They aren't going to fire me for something like that plus those weren't my exact words. I basically just said it doesn't make sense to me how they could dictate my off time without compensating me and that I was unwilling to do it for free. They would certainly fire me if I filed a claim without speaking to them first, though.
                        Last edited by Devils; 11-17-2010, 05:25 PM.

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                        • #13
                          I can see 45 minutes going either way, depending on a number of variable factors. No idea what CT's take on such things generally is.
                          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


                          • #14
                            The other problem is that there is a well established U.S. Supreme Court decision on the subject that says "all factors" must be looked at. Meaning that there is no single magic number of minutes by the U.S. Supreme Court says the "report to work time" while important is only one factor amoung the many that most be examined. Which is why different courts can and do come up with decisions that use different "report to work" times. However there is a tendency for courts in the same juristiction to lean the same way on this sort of thing.

                            If a CT judge is following the rules, that judge will look to prior CT decisions with similar factors. If this is instead a "9-5" judge, then the judge will just mentally flip a coin.
                            "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away".
                            Philip K. **** (1928-1982)

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by DAW View Post
                              If a CT judge is following the rules, that judge will look to prior CT decisions with similar factors. If this is instead a "9-5" judge, then the judge will just mentally flip a coin.
                              I was a little fired up when I wrote that one. But I do know the area hospitals do a similar 'on call' system and they pay their employees @ $200/day for each day they are on call. CT minimum wage of $8.25/hr * 24hrs = $198 for a day. $2 tip I guess! Either way, they have completely abandoned the idea so for me, it doesn't really matter but it's still an interesting topic.

                              Comment

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