Employment Law Questions? Ask an Employment Lawyer.
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On call time is a tough issue for employees, because there are no hard rules for when an employee must be paid if they are not required to stay on the employer's premises. Ultimately, instead, it comes down to a case by case fact analysis. The Indiana Dept. of Labor states in it's online FAQs that an employee who is allowed to leave the employers premises is not required to be paid while "on-call."
However, the actual analysis is a little more complicated than that under both federal and state regulations.
Ultimately, the question will come down to how much the employee's time was constrained when they were off of the employer's premises. Did they have to be within a certain distance of the employer? Was the employee frequently called in? Did the employer pay overtime when more than 40 hours in one week was worked? How much did being on-call inhibit the employee's ability to take care of personal business while not at work?
So does that mean if I am only paid for eight hours a day the on call 24 hours a day and 7 days a week is legal if it prevents me from having any down time for myself?
I was called constantly all hours of the day
If being on call actually demonstrably prevents an employee from having any down time, or time off, then that is a different issue. As I said above, ultimately the question comes down to a fact specific analysis of the situation.
Were you paid for all hours that you were called for? Were you paid overtime for anything that went over 40 hours in one week?
all the employer said that they would do was pay 34 dollars a month toward my cell phone bill
Well those are two initial issues that could be separate from on-call pay. An employer that is paying an hourly wage must pay for ALL hours worked, including time on the phone if it is required as part of the job. That is a little different than being paid for being on-call, that is being paid for actually working, so long as the calls were a required part of your job, and you were paid an hourly rate. So, back pay for hours actually worked and overtime for anything over 40 hours in each week may be one avenue of recourse for you.
While you are on-call, but not actually working, generally so long as the employee is allowed to leave the premises they do not have to be paid. However, once you have been called, and are "working" (ie addressing work issues for the employer), you have been "engaged' and that should be considered work time.
There are two remedies available where you believe that wages are owed that have not been paid. The first is a complaint with either the federal or the Indiana Department of Labor.
The State Department of Labor has an online wage claim process at:
I explained to my employer that I was exhausted , that the employees were calling me all hours of the night and I was having to find replacements for employees that were calling in and answer questions when employees would call me
That certainly does sound exhausting, and if these activities (taking calls from other employees) was required by the employer, and you were an hourly employee, then the employer should be obligated to compensate you for all hours worked.
As I said above, the Indiana Department of Labor has an online wage claim process you can use at:
The Federal Department of Labor has instructions on how to file a wage claim through them at:
ok I will check into that and thank you very much for your time
or, you could file suit for failure to pay wages. Before taking action I would strongly encourage you to consult with a labor and employment attorney in person to assist you if at all possible.
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so you think that I may have a claim
Based on the information provided, it certainly sounds as if the elements for a wage payment claim are present, yes, claims have certainly been brought for less. As I said before, because this is an informational site only (we cannot give direct legal advice), it would be prudent for you to sit down with a labor/employment law attorney in person to discuss either filing a claim with either department of labor, or filing suit. It is also possible that an attorney can help you settle the claim without the need for legal action.
ok thank you so much for your time
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