What to do if my employer issued a memo stating all full-time employees must maintain and average of 30 hours a week per quarter to maintain full-time status and benefits?

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What to do if my employer issued a memo stating all full-time employees must maintain and average of 30 hours a week per quarter to maintain full-time status and benefits?

It was also stated that at the end of the quarter, a written warning would be produced showing your hours under 30 and on the 2nd consecutive quarter you would lose full-time status and benefits. So, first quarter written warning. Second quarter lose benefits. Also, a shift manager has told the employees on numerous occasions that if they want to leave early not to worry about our hours as this policy is department specific and he could pardon us based on business demand. Today I was given a letter stating I would be moved to part time as per “previous communications”. I had received no warning, no listing of hours. Do I have any legal recourse on this? If it is relevant, being part-time grants no guarantees to hours or shifts and is very close to having no job at all as our part timers are usually forced out within an hour of starting their shifts.

Asked on October 20, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Nevada

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Many employers can and do differentiate part-time workers from full-time workers by the number of hours that they work on average.  So it's not per se illegal for them to change to an employee's classification based on the number of hours that an employee works or does not work.

The exception to this rule is if they are not applying the rule the same for all employees because of an impermissible purposes.  For example, if only women were held to the rule, but male workers could work less than 30 hours without the change in status, then the difference in treatment would indicate that the policy was being used to discriminate.  If this or a similar situation applies to you, then you may be able to file a complaint with the EEOC if you are a member of a protected class.

If this is not the case, then your second remedy is to file for unemployment if you are "under employed".  Nevada's Department of Employment website is a good starting point for filing for benefits if you hours are cut such that you aren't making enough to get by.  Here is a link to that site: http://detr.state.nv.us/ESD%20Pages/ui%20eligibility.htm

You don't mention whether or not you are a member of a union-- if you are, then there may be remedies through the union if procedures were not followed.  Similarly, if there is a written hand-book with appeal procedures for this type of job change, then you may be able to appeal through the HR department.  Absent these options though, filing an unemployment claim is going to be your main source of recourse.


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