Gap, Target, Sears and Others Investigated for Labor Violations

Thirteen major national retailers are being investigated by New York State for possible violations of state labor laws. NY State attorney general Eric Schneiderman issued formal requests for cooperation and documentation as his office examines "on-call" scheduling in the state.
The retailers all received near identical letters on April 10 requesting information on their scheduling policies. The letter states:
"Our office has received reports that a growing number of employers, particularly in the retail industry, require their hourly workers to work what are sometimes known as 'on call shifts' – that is, requiring their employees to call in to work just a few hours in advance, or the night before, to determine whether the worker needs to appear for work that day or the next. If the employee is told that his or her services are not needed, the employee will receive no pay for that day, despite being required to be available to appear on the job site the next day or even just a few hours later on the same day. For many workers, that is too little time to make arrangements for family needs, let alone to find an alternative source of income to compensate for the lost pay."
According to state law employees "who by request or permission of the employer reports for work on any day shall be paid for at least four hours, or the number of hours in the regularly scheduled shift, whichever is less, at the basic minimum hourly wage.”
The retailers were asked to provide the following information by May 4: their scheduling process, whether they use on call shifts in NY, any penalties employees are subject to for noncompliance with on call procedures, whether the retailer has studied the efficiencies or cost savings believed to be associated with on call shifts, and whether on call shifts are utilized in other states or foreign jurisdictions.
The 13 retailers that received a letter and are under investigation are: Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew, L. Brands, Burlington Coat Factory, TJX, Urban Outfitters, Target, Sears, Williams-Sonoma, Crocs, Ann and JCPenney.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report on the investigation.
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