If I work for a major oilfield company and am on call 24/7, what are my rights to pay?

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If I work for a major oilfield company and am on call 24/7, what are my rights to pay?

the handbook says if a non-exempt employeeis signigicantly restricted from conducting personal business affairs while on call, the time will be paid. Can I go after back pay for 1.4 years of being on call and recieving no extra pay.

Asked on August 13, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The issue is, were you "significantly restricted from conducting personal business"? That is a fairly strict test to meet. It means effectively that you could not, for example, engage in leisure activities; do shopping or chores;; and/or be restricted to some on-call location. The classic example of this are firefighters, who while "on call" are restrictred to the station house--they are owed pay for that time. On the other hand, an on-call doctor who has to carry a cell phone or beeper and cannot travel far away (e.g. can't go on vacation) but otherwise can do whatever he or she wants while on call is not owed any pay. 

So one fundamental issue is factual. Another is whether you were salaried or hourly--if salaried, your are not owed any additional pay for any number of hours one call or even working. 

If you were an hourly employee and your situation was more like that of the firefighters at the firehouse than that of a doctor with a beeper or cell phone, you may have a claim for additional pay. If you think that was the case, it would be worthwhile for you to consult with an employment law attorney to evaluate you potential claim in greater detail.


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