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Employment Law/cutting hours from full time to part time


I am inquiring for my husband who was recently promoted to baker manager for 3rd shift and has also been a full time employee with his company for 7 years. Recently my husbands manager hounded him for 2 weeks to hire 2 more bakers for 3rd shift. My husband advised against this since they already had enough bakers for 3rd shift, but he complied. Now a month later the manager over my husband has unexpectedly cut everyone's hours from 40 hours a week to 24 hours a week. My question: In the state of Georgia can they cut an employees full time hours (40 hours) to part time (24 hours) with no notice or documentation? As I've said he's been full time with the company for 7 years & with the exception of the 2 new employees everyone else has been full time for 2-4 years. They give no reason for doing so, but my husband did find out that if they can save money on payroll the top managers get a bonus check. The bakers are also expected to get all their work done (that normally takes 8 hours) within the 6 hours that they were cut back to. They can not stay over to get the job done nor come in an extra day to finish. Thanks ahead of time for your help.


Unfortunately for your husband and his co-workers, unless there is a union contract or the bakers and baker managers have individual written or oral employment contracts providing otherwise, the employer is free to reduce working hours as you've described below. (Note: If the employer has more than 100 employees, it would be possible for certain reductions in hours to trigger the notice requirements of the federal Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN), but only if hours are reduced for a requisite number of employees by 50% or more over each month in any six month period.  In this case the reductions were not 50% of hours, so WARN cannot be triggered.) There is no other state or federal legal requirement for notice or documentation of the changes.  

I am sorry to be the bearer of unpleasant news, but I hope this is helpful to you.

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Frank C. Magill


I can answer questions about any U.S. labor or employment law question. I cannot answer questions about non-US law. I am not a specialist in employee benefit law (ERISA and HIPAA) or Workers' Compensation law, but will do my best to point questioners toward good resources availabe online. Expertise includes, without limitation, EEO/Affirmative Action/Employment discrimination (Title VII, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, GINA, Fair Credit Reporting Act as applied to employment); Fair Labor Standards Act; Texas labor code; Family Medical Leave Act; employee compensation; discipline and dismissal; force reductions, severance pay programs and administration; collective bargaining, union representation, grievances and arbitration, National Labor Relations Act and National Labor Relations Board; employee handbooks; staffing; dispute resolution outside of traditional labor agreements; employee communications; employment policies and compliance programs; codes of ethics; employment or labor litigation.


30+ years experience as corporate counsel for a Fortune 100 telecom company, specializing in labor and employment law issues. In addition to providing day-to-day advice to my company's internal HR leadership and staff, I've represented the company in numerous labor arbitration cases and at the bargaining table.

Texas, Illinois and Missouri state bars

J.D. 1979, Harvard Law School. B.A., Summa Cum Laude, 1976, Illinois Wesleyan University.

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