A National Law Journal story said employment
lawyers report such claims are popping up in larger
wage-and-hour class actions, with on-call employees suing
for unpaid overtime. “It’s definitely triggering
litigation,” employment attorney Julie A. Dunne told
the National Law Journal. “What employers need to do
is first of all, take a look at what restrictions they
place on on-call time.”
Dunne told the legal newspaper that the key for employers is to make sure they’re not overly restricting on-call employees’ freedom. Essentially, she said, the less freedom an employee has while on call, the higher the risk that the on-call time qualifies as paid time.
For example, Dunne said, employers should consider relevant factors, including geographic restrictions — whether employees are required to be near the office, at home or near a land line; how quickly employees should respond to calls; and how many calls an employee actually receives while on call.
New York attorney Greg Rasin, told the Law Journal that the trick is to make sure on-call employees have the flexibility to do what they want to do.
“If you’re on call, and you’re free to go to a restaurant or go to a movie, or go play golf or tennis, that’s fine,” Rasin said, according to the news report. “But if you’re told, ‘you have to sit in your house and can’t leave,’ then you have to be paid for that time.”
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