FAQContact usTerms of servicePrivacy Policy

Legally, am I required to take call, especially because it would be considered overtime?

Friday July 5, 2013
Printer Icon
line
Select Text Size: Zoom In Zoom Out
line
Comment
Share this Nurse.com Article
rss feed
Question:

Dear Nancy,

I have worked in a hospital in West Virginia for four years. Now we are being told we must be on call three days out of a six-week period. I didn't sign a contract nor did I agree to this when I was hired. Legally, am I required to take call, especially because it would be considered overtime?

Tim



Nancy Brent replies:

Dear Tim,

Unfortunately for you, unless you have signed a contract of employment or are a member of a union, the employer is free to change conditions of employment because you are an employee-at-will. If you review your employee handbook, it probably contains language that states your employment is an at-will employment and the employer is free to change conditions of employment as it sees fit.

The important thing here, on the surface of the information you provided, is that you will be paid for overtime, which is consistent with the federal Fair Labor Standards Act that governs work that exceeds 40 hours in a work week, unless other agreements have been made with the nursing staff.

You can try to negotiate this new mandate with your employer, should you find it beneficial to you. You also can consult with a nurse attorney or attorney in your state who works with employees to determine if this change is consistent with your rights in the workplace.

Cordially,
Nancy




Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.