Can an exempt employee be forced to be on-call permanently?

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Can an exempt employee be forced to be on-call permanently?

I am a director of a social service agency for 2 years and am made to be permanently on-call for consultation, shifts or crisis management. Is this legal?

Asked on February 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal. Employers may require employees to be on call 24/7/365 unless there is an employment contract (including a collective bargaining or union agreement) to the contrary. Upper management and tech support, for example, are often always on call for crises and the like.

If you were an hourly employee--which is doubtful, given your title--you'd have to be paid for any work you actually do when on call; i.e. not for being available, but for when you actually are called up or in. But if you are an exempt salaried employee, you are not legally owed any additional compensation.


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