Advocates Welcome News of Nine Attorney Generals’ Inquiry Into On-Call Scheduling

April 13, 2016

CONTACT: Bailey Dick, 419-260-6044,

Washington, D.C. – Attorneys General in Washington, D.C., and eight states announced today the launch of an inquiry into on-call shifts and other abusive scheduling practices used by a number of retail employers, adding yet another voice to the growing movement to end unsustainable work schedules.

The nine attorneys general from New York, California, Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Minnesota, Rhode Island and Washington, D.C. sent letters to 15 major retailers, including American Eagle, Aéropostale, Payless, Disney, Coach and Forever 21, asking each company about their use of on-call scheduling, which in the District, may be a violation of a decades-old law mandating at least four hours of pay for hourly employees reporting to work. In recent years, employers’ use of on-call schedules has grown. Complaints about this scheduling practice have proliferated because employers require the people who work for them to keep their schedules on hold for shifts they may never be assigned to or paid for.

An earlier round of inquiries into Gap, L Brands and Abercrombie and Fitch from New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resulted in six retail companies announcing they would end on-call shifts in their stores.

Today’s announcement also puts increased pressure on D.C. councilmembers and Mayor Muriel Bowser to pass the Hours and Scheduling Sustainability Act, legislation that would make more predictable and secure work schedules a reality for people working in large restaurant and retail establishments in the District.

Survey after survey has proven that the majority of Americans support the creation of rules that will allow women and men to have greater certainty about their work schedules, according to national polls, surveys of Washington, D.C., residents and business leaders themselves.

“The movement for Just Hours has clear momentum, from the landmark San Francisco rules ushering in better schedules and hours to the announcement from the many attorneys general today. Our coalitions in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and D.C. are leading the fight to make sure that working people have greater certainty about their work schedules so they can spend time with their families while being able to support them,” said Erica Smiley, organizing director at Jobs With Justice.

“We applaud Attorney General Racine for standing with working families by investigating the harmful scheduling practices that have sadly become far too common. Now it’s time for District councilmembers to listen to residents and pass new rules that give our neighbors and families the stability they need to get ahead,” said Ari Schwartz, lead organizer at D.C. Jobs With Justice.

Working people haven’t waited for a sea change from the retail industry to stand together for better schedules and better lives. In San Francisco, working men and women, along with labor and community leaders, successfully pushed for the first set of comprehensive and meaningful standards that improved schedules for 40,000 individuals who work for large chain retailers. That victory spurred similar legislative pushes in Massachusetts,Seattle, Connecticut, Minnesota and San Jose, as well as theSchedules That Work Act in Congress.

To learn more about sustainable schedules, click here.