Can my hours be cut in order to disqualify me from obtaining company health insurance?

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Can my hours be cut in order to disqualify me from obtaining company health insurance?

I work for a large grocery store chain. I had chronic pancreatitis so I had to take about 4 months of medical leave and required surgery. When I came back I worked 1 week and finally had enough hours (400 total) to qualify for medical insurance through the company. The manager of the store then told me that I would not be allowed to work any more than 19.5 hours (I had always worked between 32 and 40 hours before I got sick) because he did not want me to be able to get the 20 hours a week which is required to qualify for insurance. He said that I was too high of a risk and did not want me to cost the company a bunch of money if I got sick again.

Asked on March 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, this is legal. Employers are allowed to determine how many hours to assign each employee, and they are allowed to make this decision on the basis of what will save the company money and/or disruption, including by saving on benefits costs.


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