Can my employer require me to respond to work calls and text messages when I am not scheduled to work?

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Can my employer require me to respond to work calls and text messages when I am not scheduled to work?

Basically, I’m off, want uninterrupted time with my family and don’t wish to respond to calls or texts that can wait until I am scheduled to work.

Asked on August 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Utah

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, there is no law that says that an employer may not call an employee when they are off the clock (i.e. before or after a shift, on weekends, holidays or even sick days). That is at least, unless there is some form of prohibition on this in an emploment/union contract or this in some way violates company policy (doubtful).  However, if an employer does call an employer on their personal time and makes them spend time talking about work, that is considered to be "work". Accordingly, the employee should be paid for it.

Note: While you can ask your employer to not call you, you really have no way of enforcing this request. Furtherore, in an "at will" employment relationship you can be fired for complaining about this (in fact, you can be fired for no reason at all, with or without notice).


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