Neglecting On call terms

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Neglecting On call terms

I might accept employment with an employer with the stipulation that I am on-call 1 weekend a month

with no known restrictions on my time but I would have to return calls to the answering service upon receiving a page. I may or may not then be required to go to the workplace. Can I be fired for not going in if my employer is not paying me for the time I am on-call? Also, at a later time can I refuse to cooperate with the on-call stipulation without consequence?

Asked on April 19, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Louisiana


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have protection under the terms of an employment contract or union agreement, you must report to the workplace regarding "on-call" time. If you do not, you face termination. In fact, a worker can be fired for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). Also, as to pay for on-call time, there are several factors that must be considered in determining if a worker is indeed entitled to compensation for such time. They are: (1) how many calls the employee gets while on call (the more calss, the stronger the case that they should be compensated); (2) how long does the employee have to respond to the call (the sooner it is, the more likely it is that they should be paid); (3) where can the employee go while on call (if they must stay within a specified distance from work, the they usually are entitled to compensation); and (4) what can the employee do during their on-call time; the more restrictions placed on them (i.e. prohibiting alcohol use), then the greater the chance that they will have to be paid. For further information, you can contact your state's department of labor or contact a local employment attorney. 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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