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Victoria’s Secret is changing their “on-call” policy, will others try it anyway?

Earlier this month, Victoria’s Secret was creating buzz around their new “on-call” staffing policy; however, now they’re changing their tune.


Victoria’s Secret “on-call” policy was bogus, is now dead

Victoria’s Secret is ending the “on-call” policy that created quite a buzz earlier this month. The on-call policy stated days an employee would have “call-in” shifts, or days that an employee would need to work, with no guarantee of actually being called in. If an employee was called in, there was no guarantee of being paid for these on-call shifts, either. Since when did employment become volunteer work?

According to Buzz Feed, Victoria’s Secret declined to comment regarding their staffing policies and practices, however, several ex-staffers let Buzz Feed know that the policy was changed this week. As this scheduling system did not allow employees to have another job, or plan their schedules outside of work, I can imagine they lost more than a few employees. Working on-call, for a shift that could be canceled at the minute, with no pay, does not create the ideal working environment.

Call-in shifts in other industries

While call-in shifts have been a commonplace in other industries, Victoria’s Secret could be setting a precedent for other retailers. Victoria’s Secret was sued in California in a case seeking to define what “reporting for work” actually means: is it only the shift on the schedule, or can it be expanded to include on-call shifts as well?

The judge dismissed call-ins as actual working time, but did give attorneys permission to appeal the case to a higher court, in order to gain a more definitive answer to what constitutes “reporting to work.”

Is this okay to do to hourly workers?

Servers, chefs, doctors, lawyers, police officers, fire fighters, EMTs, nurses, and many others, are frequently on-call. While it is easy to understand why these professions need individuals to be on-call, it is hard to understand why the retail industry wants to follow suit. Schedule people as needed, there is absolutely no reason to leave someone on-call, or calling in every hour to see if they’re needed only to be told “no” at the last minute; or having an employee come in an hour before their scheduled shift to work, but not compensating them for this time. People do not seek out employment, only to be “staffed” on a (unknowingly) volunteer basis.

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What do you think about on-call and call-in shifts? Do you think other retailers will try this system, even though Victoria’s Secret has discontinued the policy?


Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Gabe Sanders

    July 5, 2015 at 9:32 am

    Nothing wrong with being on call even for the retail industry, except it should be some type of paid time. Not as much as actually being in the store but some percentage at a minimum. It's the way other industries typically handle these situations.

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