Illinois among states probing national retailers’ use of ‘on-call’ shifts

From Illinois Business Journal news services

CHICAGO – Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan on Wednesday joined with seven other states and the District of Columbia to send letters to 15 national retail companies over their use of “on-call” shifts.

Such shifts, Madigan said, prevent workers from earning a stable paycheck.

The letters from Madigan and the other states were sent to Aeropostale Inc., American Eagle Outfitters Inc., BCBG Max Azria Group LLC, Carter’s Inc., Coach Inc., David’s Tea, Forever 21, Justice Just for Girls/Ascena Retail Group Inc., Pacific Sunwear of California Inc., Payless ShoeSource Inc., The Walt Disney Company, Tilly’s Inc., Uniqlo Co. Ltd./Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., Vans VF Corp., and Zumiez Inc.

Madigan and the states expressed concern over the prevalence of “on-call” shifts, which require employees to call their employer shortly before a scheduled shift – typically one to two hours beforehand – to find out if they will, in fact, work and earn money that day.

“Learning just hours before a scheduled shift whether you are going to work or not is an unacceptable and challenging business practice,” said Madigan. “Workers – no matter where they work – should not be subject to that type of unpredictability and uncertainty in their lives.”

Madigan’s Workplace Rights Bureau is currently examining the practice and use of “on-call” work shifts based on concerns from workers and advocacy groups about the practice’s negative impact on workers’ lives. The mission of the Workplace Rights Bureau is to protect and advance the employment rights of Illinois residents.

Joining Madigan in sending the letter to retailers were the following offices of attorneys general: California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Rhode Island.

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