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.
Though Victoria's Secret was able to dismiss several elements of the original suit — which asked for $37 million in damages and also requested payment for the time employees had to wait around for managers to unlock and lock up the stores — the employees won the right to appeal VS's request for a total dismissal and both parties eventually agreed to enter into mediation, where the end settlement of $12 million was ultimately reached.
The settlement will be split 70-30 between thousands of former and current Victoria's Secret employees (around $8 million) and the litigation's legal counsel ($3.6 million). Victoria's Secret will be unable to regain any unclaimed amounts of the settlement. An approval hearing will take place in July.
As for how the suit will affect future Victoria's Secret retail workers, the company reportedly stopped utilizing "call-in" shifts in 2015 — so they'll (hopefully) never know the pain of missing out on a beach day to sit home by their phones. Lord knows I still haven't gotten over it.
Fashionista has reached out to Victoria's Secret for comment, and will update this post when we hear back.
UPDATE, June 13, 11:50 a.m.:
As per Victoria’s Secret's PR team, the brand offers no comment on the subject of this settlement.
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