Is it legal for an employer to cut a person’s hours to get an employee to quit?

The employer is hiring new employees but cutting hours of existing employees. I this illegal? It appears that the employer is looking to

hire 20-25 year olds and cutting hours of 50-60 year olds. Hours have been slowly cut. In past 6 years I have worked 18-24 hours

average a week. Now I am being scheduled for 6-10 maximum because they have hired new people and cut my hours. When I asked about this I was told that the younger people needed the money more than I. I was told that I needed to decide if the amount of hours was enough. That is all they can offer as business is slow. If business is slow, why are they hiring? I think they want me to quit. If I quit can I apply for unemployment until I find a new job which is more challenging at 60 years old.

Asked on March 20, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Most employment relationships are "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of work much as it sees fit, that is unless doing so violates the terms of a union agreement or employment contract. Also, an employee's treatment must not constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination. In this case, you may well have a claim for discrimination based on age (over 40). At this point you can file a complaint with your state's department of labor and/or consut directly with an employment law attorney.

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