Is it legal for an employee to force on-call workers to fill shifts that didn’t have coverage in the first place instead of hiring the proper number of employee’s?

For almost 2 years now, there has not been enough people hired to fill all weekend shifts. Instead of hiring people to fill these spots the force the on-call and code help people to fill these shifts leaving no one to call if someone gets sick or hurt. When I say force, I mean that before Saturday has even come, the on-call and code help people’s names are already on the schedule for the upcoming g weekend. I can understand doing this for maybe a month because someone quit but as I stated this has been going on for close to 2 years.

Asked on July 14, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Unless there is a union or collective bargaining contract specifying staffing levels, the law does not specificy how many employees an employer needs or prevent them from using their on-call staff to consistently fill vacancies. So without a contract controlling this situation, this is legal--arguably stupid and bad business, but still legal.


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