Employer Changed On-Call Status
(Grass Valley, CA)
I work for a propane company in Northern California, that requires it's employees to be on-call after hours. The schedule was, you were on-call after hours and weekends for one full week, every 4 or 5 weeks. Just recently June 6th, 2014, my employer changed the on-call policy to require just the drivers to be on call effective July 1st, 2014. That now puts me (a driver) on call 24hrs a day for a week at a time every other week. That is two weeks every month, or six months out of the year. We are not allowed to consume any alcoholic beverages while we are on-call, nor be more than an hour away during our on-call period. I find this unreasonable, as the other employees do not have to be on-call (there are only two drivers). I am required to carry a pager and only get paid if I respond to a call. I do not get paid any "stand-by" time. My employer has threatened termination if I do not agree with their new policies. I am considering quitting this job, because my employer has so-intolerably changed my job duties that it would have compelled any reasonable employee to soon resign. Should I get fired or quit? What position would help me collect unemployment benefits? Thank You.
Here's how I would see it if I were the employee.
I think you should see if you have a leg to stand
on, or a right to legitimately complain about the change in conditions and terms to the employer first (documented of course). I'd also want to make sure I could back up my complaint with something I would think is addressed in the FLSA
, or better still California labor laws
As for unemployment benefits - If you quit, you would be better off if you exercise your employee right first. Then, depending on the employer's response, you may be able to base your good cause on those efforts, and actually prove you exhausted alternatives to quitting to meet your burden of good cause.
I didn't read anything in your question to make me think you have good cause at this point, because you are supposed to prove your desire to work by trying to save your job. That often requires good an thorough documentation of your efforts and an employer response.
Then if you are fired for failing to go along with something deemed to be a "reasonable" directive from your employer, you would have to show you were not insubordinate, but acting reasonably, per CA labor law.
That the this might interfere's with your ability to have a drink every other week, seems to me, a wholly irrelevant point. But I would certainly focus on the lack of any additional compensation for 24/7 on call duty by at least filing a wage complaint and allowing the state to make a ruling on that first.