American Eagle Outfitters Inc. said it advised its stores to stop using “on-call shifts” in November and that it would underscore that message.
The retailer was one of 15 to receive letters of inquiry this week from a group of attorneys general looking for more information on the controversial practice, which requires employees to call in shortly before their scheduled shift to confirm they will be working that day.
The group is led by New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, who described on-call shifts as “unfair to workers who must keep the day free, arrange for child care, and give up the chance to get another job or attend a class — often all for nothing. On-call shifts are not a business necessity, as we see from the many retailers that no longer use this unjust method of scheduling work hours.”
New York’s “call-in pay” regulation says that an employee who by “request or permission” reports to work on any day should be paid for four hours work.
American Eagle said Friday that it “is committed to providing our associates with a positive working environment. We decided in November 2015 to cease the use of ‘on-call shifts’ and advised our stores. We are taking steps to reinforce and assure adherence to this policy across our store fleet.”
In addition to American Eagle, the nonbinding letters were sent to, Aéropostale Inc., Payless Shoe Source, Disney Inc., Coach Inc., Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., Forever 21, Vans, BCBG Max Azria, Tilly’s Inc., Zumiez Inc., Uniqlo, Ascena Retail Group Inc.’s Justice chain, David’s Tea and Carter’s.
This isn’t a new issue for the New York attorney general, who last year sent letters to 13 retailers. A spokesman from his office said the retailers queried then either said they didn’t use the practice or made adjustments.
Earlier this year, the National Retail Federation trade group came out against proposed legislation limiting the practice in Washington, D.C.