A Federal Judge Must Decide What ‘Report To Work’ Means In Victoria’s Secret Lawsuit

Last year, numerous national retail chains changed their practices around on-call scheduling, a practice where retailers adjust their staffing levels at the last minute according to how busy an establishment expects to be. Many companies discontinued the practice around the time that New York’s Attorney General began asking questions about the scheduling practices of national retail chains. However, a lawsuit over the practice of on-call scheduling continues in California, and hinges on what it means to “report to work.”

Buzzfeed looked over the arguments from both side in this appeal. How on-call shifts worked at Victoria’s Secret was that employees were to call in two hours before the scheduled start time of their shift to find out whether they needed to come in. When employees called in two hours ahead, the company noted in a brief they submitted to the appeals court this week, “they could be in their pajamas, far away from the workplace, actively engaged in some other pursuit, or attending to some other commitment” while physically making the phone call.

However, the employees’ argument, and one of the main arguments against on-call shifts in general, is that not knowing whether they would be needed makes it difficult to do some fairly basic things, like arranging child care, choosing a college schedule, or even scheduling shifts at another job.

This is important not only because of the ambiguity in workers’ schedules, but because California law requires employers to pay anyone who “reports to work” for at least two hours. If the judge concludes that calling in counts as “reporting,” then Victoria’s Secret alone would owe current and former employees more than $25 million for call-in shifts scheduled between 2010 and 2014 just in California.

A Federal Court Is Taking A Closer Look At On-Call Shifts At Victoria’s Secret [Buzzfeed]