Can my employer refuse to pay me a 1 1/2 payrate for hours worked when on-call?

I am a nurse that works on an as needed with my employer, a hospital. I agreed to be placed on the scheduled for several night shifts on an on-call basis, meaning that if I was needed and had to work the shift, that I would be paid at a 1 1/2 pay rate. My immediate supervisor, department manager, agreed to this. The schedule was provided to the Director of Nursing prior to the posting of the schedule by the sept manager. I worked shifts as agreed. When payroll was performed, the dept manager marked my time as call back meaning time and 1/2 pay rate. However, when my paycheck was direct deposited, the pay was at base rate. When the department manager went to the head of payroll concerning the error, she was told that the Director of Nursing instructed her not to pay the 1 1/2 pay rate. Never was it relayed that the schedule was not approved as posted. Do I have any grounds on this issue? Basically the Director of nursing allowed me to work knowing that she was not going to pay me as agreed upon between myself and the department manager, nor was the department manager made aware.

Asked on November 21, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

You could sue for the additional money for "breach of contract"--for violation of the agreement between you and the employer pursuant to which you agreed to work those shifts or to be on-call--so long as you had the power to refuse to do that work: if the employer could have compelled you to do that work or those shifts, then your agreement was not needed. If your agreement was not needed, there was no enforceable contract and so no right to the extra pay.
Of course, even if you can sue, whether it is worth it to sue your employer for the amount of money at stake is a different question, and one only you can answer for yourself.


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