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LawTalk
LawTalk, Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 37366
Experience:  I have 30 years of experience in the practice of law, including employment law and discrimination law.
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Can an employer force you to be on call while your have approved

Customer Question

Can an employer force you to be on call while your have approved vacation time. We are planning to go to Europe. It's impossible for my wife to be on call. We live in California.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Expert:  LawTalk replied 4 years ago.
Good morning,

I'm Doug, and I'm very sorry to hear of your wife's situation. My goal is to provide you with excellent service today.

My first thought is that the employer has lost grip on reality. Of course, as a practical matter, you can't very well be on vacation half the globe away, and on call at the same time---unless all you do is talk with people over the phone---in which case you can not be charged with a vacation day of you happen to work that day.

Unfortunately, under CA law, an employer---while they may grant vacation days as benefits---they also maintain full authority to say when an employee can take vacation, and they can even grant permission for vacation and revoke the permission later on---despite the disruption and financial cost to the employee.

What has in effect happened---presuming that being on call requires your wife to respond to work situations---is that the employer has just denied vacation time previously granted.

Is it ethical, or even appropriate under these circumstances---no way! Is it legal---yes, I'm afraid that it is.

Your wife needs to have a serious talk with HR, and if there is no HR office, then with the company owner. She also needs to possibly rethink whether she will want to continue to remain an employee working for such oppressive an employer.

I wish you the best in 2013.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

You may reply back to me using the Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions.

Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided. Please understand that I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation.

Thank you,

Doug
Customer: replied 4 years ago.


To clarify, she is an MRI technologist and when she is on call she has to physically be there and scan patients.

Expert:  LawTalk replied 4 years ago.
Good evening Harold,

I have to say that I am not surprised in the least. This is typical shoddy treatment that so many health care professionals receive in CA. It is completely despicable.

Unfortunately, as I suggested, the employer holds most of the cards, and can deny vacation already approved and there is no legal remedy---at least one that will save the vacation.

She can tell then to pound sand, and resign and they will have to pay her all of her earned vacation---but in terms of rights, that is about all that is allowed in CA. I'm sorry.

I truly wish I had better news. My own wife has been in the medical field for almost 3 decades and the gall of employers in this field never cease to amaze me.

I wish you the best in 2013.

I understand that you may be disappointed by the Answer you received, as it was not particularly favorable to your situation. Had I been able to provide an Answer which might have given you a successful legal outcome, it would have been my pleasure to do so.

You may reply back to me using the Reply to Expert link if you have additional questions.

Kindly take a moment to rate my service to you based on the understanding of the law I provided. Please understand that I have no control over the how the law impacts your particular situation.

Thank you,

Doug

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