Can employees be scheduled less than full-time hours if they are considered to be full-time employees?

UPDATED: Jan 8, 2011

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Can employees be scheduled less than full-time hours if they are considered to be full-time employees?

We have worked for a large corporation for several years and have been full-time. We are now told that although a few years ago the corporation changed full-time from 28 to 34 hours a week, we do not qualify for the 34 hours due to our hire date. Yet we are still full-time. Can they do this and is it legal for them to schedule us for less than the 28 or 34 hours per week? There are several of us who are concerned about this.

Asked on January 8, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Oklahoma


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

This  is actually no legal definition of "full" vs. "part" time; no laws stating how many hours an employee must be put on for; and it's up to employers to determine the terms and conditions of work, including how many hours employees will work. The only limitations are:

1) No discrimination on the basis of a protected category, such as race, religion, sex, age over 40, or disability--i.e. the reason you get fewer hours can't be on that ground.

2) If you're hourly, you must be paid for all hours worked, whatever they are.

3) If there's an employment (including union) contract, its terms about hours and pay must be honored.

However, otherwise, it's up to the employer.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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