Whatare the minimumhours for a full-time employee?

UPDATED: Jan 5, 2012

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Whatare the minimumhours for a full-time employee?

I have been a full-time employee for 17 years at a company and ever since this boss came to our store she has drastically cut my hours. I used to have 40 then to 37 then to 34 then to 30 and now to 26. What is the law in CA regarding full-time hours? I even called my HR dept and they said 30. Also, she states that me and another worker are too slow. Isn’t that discrimination?

Asked on January 5, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) "Full time" vs. "part time" doesn't matter for most purposes. While there are rules that take account of how many hours an employee works--for example, overtime--that tends to vary on a rule-by-rule basis; there is no global threshold for "full time" work from a legal point of view. That is, for example, a "part time" worker in CA who works more than 8 hours in one day gets overtime even though he or she is nominally "part time."

2) Similarly, if you taking about eligibilility for benefits, to a great extent that is up to the employer to decide criteria--e.g. how many hours to qualify for vacation days, sick days, to be eligible to get health insurance (though there are some state rules on the subject, limiting employer discretion).

3) To the extent it does matter, I believe your HR department is right--"full time" is usually 30 or more hours a week. However, this said, an employer is free to reduce a full time employee to part time at will, unless there is a contract to the contrary.

4) No, it is not discrimination to call you "slow" unless you actually have a cognitive or mental disability; if you are, then it may be illegal harassment/discrimination against the disabled to use this term. However, there is no general rule or law saying that employers cannot insult their employees, as long as the insult, etc. is not on the basis of a specifically protected category, such as race, religion, age over 40, sex, or disability.Saying that a worker is too slow when that comment is not based on a protected characteristic is legal.

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 AttorneyPages.com 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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