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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 116771
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I am an hourly employee at a radiology company. I was just

Customer Question

I am an hourly employee at a radiology company. I was just told that I will have to be on call every third weekend to handle problems that arise during those hours. I asked how I would be compensated and they told me that I would not be and it is part of my new expectations of my job. I go away frequently on weekends to visit my elderly father who is three hours away. I asked if I could go away and was told no, that I must stay close by. Can this be done without them offering me any type of payment.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Unfortunately, if you are an at will employee (one without a contract of employment) the employer can make you perform whatever tasks the employer finds necessary. Under the fair labor standards act, which governs payment of employees, the law says you only have to be paid for hours you actually work. The US department of labor says that minor restrictions when on call, such as being within reasonable driving distance of the workplace would not entitle the employer to on call pay and the employee would be entitled to only pay if they are called out. The US DOL has also said if the employee is forced to stay at the workplace and has no freedom of movement in the reasonable geographic vicinity to the workplace, then the employer must pay on call pay.
If you can move around locally and are merely being made to respond to work within reasonable time, even if you cannot leave town, this is a legal request of the employer and you would have to either negotiate coverage if you need to leave town or work some other plan out with the employer. As an at will employee, this is something the employer has a right to impose.