DAVIDsTEA Among Those Questioned RE: “On Call” Shifts

DAVIDsTea is facing questions about the way they staff their retail shops in the U.S.

Fifteen retailers in New York were contacted by the state’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, regarding “on-call” shifts. For “on call” shifts, an employee is required to keep particular slots of time available in case they are needed to work; if they are not needed, they are not paid even though they were unable to accept other work during those periods. They may not be told until one to two hours before the shift that they will not be needed.

thumb_thp_davidstea1_front1.jpgThe use of this practice may be heightened in a state like New York where employees are guaranteed payment for a four hour shift once they arrive. By canceling before the shift, employers save themselves four hours of pay. The attorney general’s office believes that there are other ways for employers to manage labor needs.

“On call” scheduling is frustrating for any worker who suddenly finds themselves not earning income for a period they intended to work. It is an even bigger problem for people who need to arrange childcare or transportation on days they work.

This scheduling strategy is seen by companies as an important way to manage their labor costs.

DAVIDsTea and the other companies are to report to the attorney general as to the use of this type of scheduling.

Fourteen other retailers in New York were contacted regarding this practice last year including Gap, J. Crew, and Pier 1. This year’s list also included American Eagle, Aeropostale, Payless, Disney, Coach, PacSun, Forever 21, Vans, Justice, BCBG Max Azria, Tilly’s, Zumiez, Uniqlo, and Carter’s. The letters were also signed by California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Rhode Island attorneys general representatives.

Source: Canadian Lawyer, CBC, Montreal Gazette, WHEC