Im a massage therapist on an Indian reservation in California and Ive been on call for a year and 9 months. I first call in at 9 thirty In the morning and they tell me to keep calling back every hour, sometimes up until 3 oclock pm. Or my shift will be scheduled from 12 to 7 and they will tell me to come in at 5 for one appointment. It takes me an hour and 45 minutes to get to work so my first call is at 9:30. So I can be available at 12. What is their time limit and do I need a lawyer?what are my right?
The answer to your question is very complicated. Indian tribes typically enjoy what is called "sovereign immunity," which generally means the laws of the State of California and even the laws of the United States of America do not apply. If you work for a tribal employer, chances are good that the relevant labor laws do not apply in your case. However, courts have held in some cases, under a very limited set of circumstances, that some of our laws do apply to Native American tribes. For example, the overtime provisions of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act have been held to apply to a retail business owned by tribal members and operated on tribal lands. Only thing is that it appears in your case you are asking if they have to pay you for time you spend at home while on-call and time you spend traveling to and from work. The answer to those questions under federal law, regardless of whether the employer is a sovereign tribe, is generally no. But, like everything in law, it would depend on additional facts.
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