Our law firm continuously investigates single employee, group, and class actions against Kern County employers forcing employees to work on-call without paying them for the time spent waiting to be called into work. These situations often involve healthcare such as nurses, technicians, hospice employees, oil field workers, apartment maintenance workers, and all types of repair technicians. Attorney, Karl Gerber, has handled more on-call cases than any other lawyer in California. Please feel free to call us at 1-661-412-9600.

If you were paid you less than minimum wage to be on-call your employer may owe you the difference between minimum wage and what you were paid. However, in controlled standby cases we argue you should be paid your regular hourly wage opposed to minimum wage. On-call situations may also trigger what is referred to as, reporting time pay. Depending on which industry you worked in, there are different rules about how many hours you have to be paid if you have come back to work for less than half of your regular shift and whether that was on a day you already worked or not.

Standby or Controlled Standby is a legal term. Under Federal Labor Laws, time an employee spends on standby is considered work time the employee must be paid for if the time is spent primarily for the benefit of the employer. In order to determine if on-call, or standby time must be paid, courts look at whether:

  1. There is an on-premise living agreement
  2. Whether there were excessive geographical restrictions on the employee’s movements during the period of time they were on-call. We successfully handled a case in which we represented gauge readers on ships docked immediately outside of Long Beach because they could not engage in normal life activities such as going to a movie, an amusement park, or a social engagement with their family because they would have to leave and thereby waste their admission fees or disturb their family during the periods of time they were on-call.
  3. Whether the frequency of calls was unduly restrictive. In other words, if the employer claims employees are on-call during a weekend, but in a year’s period they are not likely to be called this may not be real controlled standby. However, if the employer disciplines the employee once the employee fails to report in on a controlled standby weekend there is a legal issue about whether the employee should be paid for controlled standby
  4. Whether the on-call employee could easily trade-on-call responsibilities
  5. Whether use of a pager (smart phone now) could ease the restrictions on having to be available. This might mean the employee has the ability to reject the assignment, or the employer begins paying them the moment the employee is called about the assignment
  6. Whether the employee had actually engaged in personal activities during on-call-time
  7. Strict requirements on how quickly the employee must report to work if on-call
  8. The inability to reject on-call work

Attorney, Karl Gerber’s on-call work includes:

  • $875,000 for oil field service technicians
  • $800,000 for confined space, emergency rescue workers
  • $400,000 for 2 low voltage workers
  • $250,000 for a traveling nurse
  • $250,000 for short term rental workers

During the pandemic, Karl Gerber, arbitrated to verdict a controlled standby case for an oil field worker

Please feel free to contact our Kern County labor lawyers if you have any questions about whether you should be paid for controlled standby or an on-call employment situation 661-412-9600