For New Jersey employers: Should an employee “waiting to be engaged” be compensated?

I used to love trips to the zoo. You’d learn so much – how fast cheetahs run, how bears hibernate, and the differences between dolphins and a porpoises. And now zoos are teaching us about overtime pay! What can’t they do?

In the recent case, a zoo employee worked three night shifts per week. Two of the shifts required the employee to be on the premises to answer the phone and direct other employees to off-site emergencies. On the third shift, the employee was free to go anywhere (but was required to carry a phone and beeper in case of emergencies).  The employer claimed the employee should not be paid for this time, but guess who felt differently? The employee. And the Court. The Court declared the employee was “engaged to be waiting” on two of the nights, and he should be awarded compensation. (However, he was not paid for the time he was free to roam with only the beeper and cell phone.)

Do you need to brush up on what counts as hours worked? Check out the wages and hours section of your Human Resources Manual today! It could save you a lot ($45,000 in back wages were paid in this case!).

For additional information on this case, read “New Jersey – Employee ‘Engaged to be Waiting’ at Job Site Entitled to Overtime Pay” by clicking here.


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