On Call Practice Could Result in Big Penalties and Back Wages

Restaurant Owners should take note of the New York Attorney General’s written notice to several national retailers (J Crew, Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, Williams & Sonoma, and Urban Outfitters) concerning “on call” requirements for employees. The Attorney General believes these practices may violate minimum wage laws. Additionally, these practices do not allow employees the ability to make child care arrangements, transportation arrangements, or budget for family finances. The state has a clear agenda to either eliminate this practice or compensate the employees for not being free to attend to personal activities because they could be called into work upon a moment’s notice.

Employers can meet needs for sick days or other paid time off by offering voluntary shifts to other employees. This is not without challenges, but offers one alternative to address the last minute staffing needs that often are present in the restaurant industry while avoiding possible penalties for wage law violations.


            Tracy_Jong About Tracy Jong

Tracy Jong has been an attorney for more than 20 years,      representing restaurants, bars, and craft beverage manufacturers in a wide array of legal matters. She is also a licensed patent attorney.

Her book Everything You Need To Know About Obtaining and Maintaining a New York Retail Liquor License: The Definitive Guide to Navigating the State Liquor Authority will be available next month on Amazon.com as a softcover and Kindle e-book.

Her legal column is available in The Equipped Brewer, a publication giving business advice, trends, and vendor reviews to help craft breweries, cideries, distilleries and wineries build brands and succeed financially.

She also maintains a website and blog with practical information on legal and business issues affecting the industry. Follow her, sign up for her free firm app or monthly newsletter.



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