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Viki's Dirty Little Secret

They got caught cheating... on their workforce over unfair on-call shift practices

Posted on
Jun 14, 2017

Across the retail industry, on call scheduling is often used.  While good for the employer, it is a pain for employees.  This isn't just a grocery store or department store issue, looks like Victoria’s Secret got caught being naughty and is paying the price now too.


Victoria's Secret is paying the price for its less-than-angelic treatment of employees: Nearly three years after a retail worker sued the lingerie giant over its rampant use of "call-in" shifts, VS has agreed to settle the case for $12 million. 

What's a call-in — or "on-call" — shift, you ask? It's a concept many retail employees (including me, at one point — shout out, Limited Too!) know all too well: An employer over-schedules a shift, just in case the store is busier than anticipated at any given time. The worker who's "on call" is then required to contact the store just prior to the start of her hypothetical shift to be told whether she's needed. If she's not, she's essentially wasted part or all of her day waiting around to maybe work, and worst of all, isn't compensated for any of it. In a word, it's bullshit. 

A Victoria's Secret worker in California named Mayra Casas had had enough, and in 2014, decided to lawyer up and take VS head-on in a class-action suit. Those involved in the suit claimed that call-in shifts "required them to mold their lives around the possibility that they might have the chance to work more hours," and prevented them from doing better things with their time, like working elsewhere, or (more likely) going to the beach.

As it so happens in California, labor laws state — as per WWD — that an employee must be paid for "reporting time" for on-call shifts, meaning payment equal to half of the shift if she doesn't end up working at all, or equal to two hours of work if she's called in for less than one hour of work.

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