Nine States Expand Probe Into On-Call Scheduling, 15 More Retailers In The Hot Seat

Image courtesy of AmandaSG

With the help of seven other states and the District of Columbia, New York is expanding the probe into on-call scheduling in the retail world, sending letters to 15 more retailers asking them about their use of the practice.

New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman’s office, along with attorneys general from California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York, and Rhode Island sent the letter [PDF] to 15 retailers regarding “on-call shifts,” in which employees are given little notice on whether they are required to show up for work or stay at home without pay. Some officials only signed letters to retailers in their state.

“Unpredictable work schedules take a toll on employees,” the letter states. “Without the security of a definite work schedule, workers who must be ‘on call’ have difficulty making reliable childcare and elder-care arrangements, encounter obstacles in pursuing an education, and in general experience higher incidences of adverse health effects, overall stress, and strain on family life than workers who enjoy the stability of knowing their schedules reasonably in advance.”

The attorneys general got together to send the letters out of their “collective concern about the impact of on-call shifts on employees and their families, as well as the national scope of the retail companies involved.” The letters ask retailers for more information about scheduling practices that may be relevant under various state laws.

In New York, for example, there’s a “call in pay regulation” [PDF] that says that any employee who “by request or permission of the employer” reports for work on any day should be paid for at least four hours of work, “or the number of of hours in the regularly scheduled shift, whichever is less, at the basic minimum hourly wage.”

This time around, attorneys general sent letters to American Eagle, Aeropostale, Payless, Disney, Coach, PacSun, Forever 21, Vans, Justice Just for Girls, BCBG Maxazria, Tilly’s, Inc., David’s Tea, Zumiez, Uniqlo, and Carter’s.

In 2015, New York kicked off a probe into the practice by sending letters to 11 retailers, sending letters asking for more information about their possibly illegal scheduling methods. In the months that followed, a number of companies announced they’d be ending the practice: L Brands (which includes Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret), Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Urban Outfitters, J. Crew, and Pier 1.

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