Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance.
Unfortunately they can justify it, because as the law currently stands right now on call time is not compensible time. If you are allowed to be at home, courts have repeatedly held that that time is not paid time unless and until you get called into work. Regrettably, this is well-settled law, meaning that unless a change is made in the statutes concerning compensible time, there is no further argument on this matter in the courts.
As for requiring you to pay for the time they require you to take off with your vacation, this is also permissible as vacation is not legally required by any state or federal law. Because of this, the employer can place those limitations on that vacation that they want to...including requiring its use if you wish to paid for time that you are not scheduled to work.
I wish I could tell you differently here, but none of the facts that you outlined here touch on any illegal activity by the employer. Immoral and unfair, yes...but not illegal.
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