According to a report from CNBC Money, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has begun an investigation Target, Gap and at least 11 other major retailers for possible state labor law violations. The New York AG’s office sent letters to 13 retail chains asking for detailed information about their policy regarding “on call shifts,” where employees receive minimal advance notice regarding the hours they will be working.
More about on call scheduling
With on call scheduling, employees only find out if they are scheduled for work a few hours or the night before the start of a shift. And, of course, if they are told to stay home because things are slow, the employees are not paid.
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The letter from Schneiderman notes that these kind of erratic, on call schedules make it difficult for employees to manage important family needs such as child care or school schedules. It also points out that workers forced to work these type of shifts “experience adverse financial and health effects, as well as overall stress and strain on family life.”
Details on New York AG Schneiderman’s investigation of retailers
Of note, Schneiderman’s office has received reports from various sources that a growing number of retailers are switching to on call scheduling systems so they have more people on staff when it’s busy and less employees when things are slow.
The letter also highlights that New York state law requires employers to pay workers at least four hours of minimum wage if employees if they report for a scheduled shift.
New York is one of eight states and the District of Columbia that have similar laws, based on recent data from the National Employment Law Project.
As well as Target, the NY AG’s letter was sent to Abercrombie & Fitch, Gap, Ann Taylor, Burlington Stores, Crocs, J C Penney, J. Crew Group, L Brands, TJX, Urban Outfitters and Williams Sonoma.