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New York launches investigation into staffing practices of retailers

RBR Staff Writer Published 14 April 2015

New York's attorney general Eric Schneiderman has launched an investigation into staffing practices of 13 major retailers.

New York attorney general

This comes after the attorney general's office received reports of more employers setting shifts the night before or just a few hours in advance.

Schneiderman has sent warning letters to retail chains which are allegedly using on-call scheduling, which may violate New York labor law, while making workers' lives and pay unpredictable.

The on-call workers are asked by their employers to check in by phone, email or text shortly before their shift.

The workers are also asked to come in when stores are busy and asked not to report for work on slow days to save on payroll.

Labor Bureau Chief Terri Gerstein was quoted by the Associated Press as saying: "We have been informed that a number of companies in New York State utilize on-call shifts and require employees to report in some manner, whether by phone, text message or email, before the designated shift in order to learn whether their services are ultimately needed on site that day.

"Workers who must be 'on call' have difficulty making reliable childcare and elder-care arrangements, encounter obstacles in pursuing their education and in general experience higher incidences of adverse health effects, overall stress and strain on family life than workers who enjoy the stability and certainty of knowing their schedules reasonable in advance of having to appear for work."

The retailers being reviewed under the investigation include Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch, J. Crew Group, L. Brands, Burlington Coat Factory, TJX Companies, Urban Outfitters, Target Corp., Sears Holding, Williams-Sonoma, Crocs, Ann and J.C. Penney.



Image: New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman. Photo: courtesy of Kelly Campbell / Wikipedia.