Can an employer require an hourly associate to be 'on call'?

I work for Office Depot and have several concerns regarding their policies. I am an hourly associate (department manager). One of the requirements is being 'on call'. If there is a call from the security company, I am required to respond. If there is a problem with the alarm system when closing the store, I am required to stay at the store (off the clock) until the situation is resolved. I am also required to keep my headset on while at lunch (if there is no other manager in the building) and respond to associate calls for a manager. We cannot leave the building (to go out to lunch). We are told that we 'should' punch out and back in if we need to respond to associate calls for a manager. Is this legal practice?

1 answer  |  asked Mar 7, 2011 7:16 PM [EST]  |  applies to New Jersey

Answers (1)

Doris Dabrowski
As a general rule, you are entitled to pay for all time expended primarily for the benefit of the employer. On the other hand, you may not necessarily be entitled to pay for "on call" time during which you are free to engage in personal activities. Courts consider the totality of the circumstances to determine the degree to which the employee is free to engage in personal activity. You may contact me or other counsel to review the factual details.

Doris Dabrowski, 215-790-1115.

posted by Doris Dabrowski  |  Mar 8, 2011 1:43 PM [EST]

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