salary owed prior to termination

I have recently been laid off of work from the pest control industry and feel that I am owed more pay than they are agreeing to pay. I am a salaried employee and I was terminated 2 days into a new pay period. I did not work the 2 days of the pay period because the company told me there was no work. They did, however, tell me I was "on-call" in case something came in. The second day, the terminated me at 11:00 a.m., but I was on-call prior, starting at 8:00am I had to make myself available for those 2 days and feel I should be paid. Anybody familiar with the laws regarding such a scenario? My direct supervisor said not to push the issue, because the owner will refuse to pay one week of vacation pay that was already agreed to. I was told that the owner "knows that I don't have the money to hire a lawyer and therefor cannot take him to court".

1 answer  |  asked Jun 23, 2008 3:01 PM [EST]  |  applies to Arizona

Answers (1)

Francis Fanning
"On call" doesn't mean on the clock

The Fair Labor Standards Act is a federal law that governs minimum wage and overtime issues. Cases and regulations interpreting the FLSA distinguish between two "on call" situations. The first, sometimes referred to as "waiting to be engaged," means being subject to being called in to work. It is not considered compensable time. The second, sometimes referred to as "engaged to wait," means having to remain on or so near the workplace premises that the employee's free use of the time for the employee's own purposes is lost. In this case an employee is entitled to be paid. Numerous factors go into determining whether the employee's "on call" time is compensable or not.
The question whether you are entitled to be paid in this case is actually a state law question, but the same factors used in FLSA cases would probably be applied by a court. If you had the freedom to use the "on call" time for your own purposes and were free to travel away from home to shop or run errands, you probably do not qualify to be paid.
The argument that the employer knows you don't have the money to take him to court is foolishness. You can make a claim for unpaid wages up to $2,500 by filing a complaint with the Labor Department of the Industrial Commission of Arizona (phone 602-542-4515). You don't need a lawyer and it doesn't cost anything.

posted by Francis Fanning  |  Jun 26, 2008 3:45 PM [EST]

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