As published by Daily Journal, Rosen Saba has won a landmark ruling against California restaurant chain giant Yoshinoya America that will require the employer to compensate all workers who are scheduled to be on-call, not only those who report to work physically. In a wage-and-hour class action suit against Yoshinoya, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle ruled that those employees who are required to call into their jobs to find out if they are needed that day are entitled to compensation.
“Creating a surplus pool of contingent workers ready to begin work at a moment’s notice, only to notify some number of them that their services would not be required, provides an enormous benefit to employers while forcing workers to prepare a set of contingency plans depending whether they’re given a shift to work or not,” wrote Judge Berle in the ruling.
Yoshinoya, operator of a chain of Japanese inspired fast food restaurants, instituted the on-call shift policy in June 2014. The policy stipulated that on-call workers who call-in will not be awarded any compensation if they do not work that day, and that disciplinary action be imposed on these workers, including possible termination, if they do not comply. As a result of the ruling, Yoshinoya must now compensate call-in kitchen and cashier workers who check in with their managers two hours before their possible start time begins.
“This decision is in the best interests of employees throughout the State of California and is the equitable and fair outcome,” said Partner Ryan Saba, who along with Associate Tyler Vanderpool represented plaintiffs Erick Monroy and Illse Ascensio. “All workers, especially those who earn minimum wages, deserve to be treated better. In this type of call-in system, it was only Yoshinoya that benefitted.”
California law requires that an employee be paid a minimum of two hours of work if the employer asks an employee to remain available and “report for work,” but then does not need the services of the employee. Yoshinoya argued “report for work” does not apply to employees who call in.
“This is the first time a state court has issued a decision definitively holding that individuals who are placed ‘on-call’ by an employer should be compensated,” said Saba. “The Yoshinoya workers had to set aside their free days, and then be disappointed when they were told to stay home—all without compensation.”