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Tina
Tina, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 31998
Experience:  JD, 16 years experience & recognized by ABA for excellence in employment law.
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I recently worked as a hospice nurse for a local hospital in

Customer Question

I recently worked as a hospice nurse for a local hospital in an on call position. We were paid a stipend when waiting for the calls, less the minimum wage in California. I held this job twice. This first 3 years there was more flexibility but the second time around it changed in this way ... (Btw, no one held this position more than 3 years because of the workload) Our typical 15 hours, sometimes longer, we would be assigned sometimes 5 hours of work while fielding incoming calls that compounded our load often not getting a break for hours. Our expectation was to pick up call within 15 minutes and be at a location in one hour. Some locations were an hour away. As soon as we were actively receiving calls or driving to a location we were given full wage but during wait time we were only paid 7.++ dollars. We could never take a real break because there was no backup. And our day went on after 15 hours because we had to computerize all this after ... Beating the clock, fulfilling time constraints for charting with the office hounding for completion. We were advised the days of sleep we over ... Our on call we were to be alert and ready to go. I stated they would have to pay us differently because we were doing two jobs now and required to stay awake. They would have to at least pay us minimum wage for wait time since our requirements for on call were more ... No sleep, be at areas an hour away in an hour. These distant areas were new ... We only had a few at first but we were now stepping outside our county in many directions. My question, do I have a case for at least minimum wage during wait time? Should we have back up for breaks? Is it worth pursuing ... Will it cost me? And can you suggest where to find an appropriate lawyer for this? Please know I quit after trying to discuss this with administration. They felt my comments and requests frivolous. Please know only rarely would you get no calls or one during these nights. Most often calls would average 2 an hour with more calls to doctors for questions. I believe this hospital was abusing their on call ... Especially because these were PRN and part time, little to no benefits and sometimes on stand by for 80 hours a week at night mostly.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  Tina replied 1 year ago.
Hello and welcome,

Yes, there would typically be grounds to pursue back pay for the on-call time since the time employees were on call was so restricted in that you were unable to use the time for personal reasons.

In addition, it appears the employer break time laws, which typically require employees be relieved of ALL duties for at least 30 minutes if they work a minimum of 5 hours in a shift.

Instead of retaining an attorney, I would file a wage claim with the state labor board typically since you are concerned about the cost, since it costs nothing to pursue the matter through this agency and they do have the authority to investigate and collect wages and penalties owed by the employer on your behalf.

Here is a link to file a wage claim:

http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/howtofilewageclaim.htm

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Thank you very much and all the best to you,

Tina

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Tina, Attorney
Satisfied Customers: 31998
Experience: JD, 16 years experience & recognized by ABA for excellence in employment law.
Tina and 4 other California Employment Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Yes, need to know if there is a timeline for collection. Some of this goes back as far as 2008.

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