Just last week, on February 4, 2019, the California Court of Appeals made a decision that will impact employers who require employees to call in to see if they are needed for work. In Ward v. Tilly’s, Inc., an employee who had to call into work two hours before they would otherwise report to see if they were needed sued their employer, a retail clothing store, for reporting time pay. The employee argued that if they called and were told they did not have to come into work, that this triggered reporting time pay under the California Wage Order. The Court agreed. The decision states that having to call in two hours before to find out if you are scheduled to work equated to “reporting to work” regardless if the employee was physically present at work, as they could not take other jobs, go to school or make other plans during on-call shifts. As a result, this required the employer to pay for each workday an employee was required to “report for work”, even if not physically present. The Court expanded the definition of what “report to work” means outside physical presence at the job site to include “logging on to a computer remotely, or by appearing at a client’s job site, or by setting out on a trucking route, then the employee “reports for work” by doing these things. And if…the employer directs employees to present themselves for work by telephoning the store two hours prior to the start of a shift, then the reporting time is triggered by the telephonic contact.”
Employers should also know that there was hearty dissent in the Ward decision stating that the legislative intent behind the drafting of the term “report for work” was to require a retail salesperson to physically appear at the store. While placing yet another burden on employers, hopefully, we will see a challenge to this case – but until then, employers utilizing “on call” time should discuss this ruling, how this decision impacts your business, and what you can do as an employer to avoid reporting time pay, with the Employer Lawyers at Chauvel & Glatt.
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