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  • Cutting Hours??

    I'm a 16 year old girl who's been putting up with a summer job at a local Connecticut Dairy Queen since the beginning of June. Working at a fast food place was not by any means my first choice of employment, but living in a small town without even the prospect of a license until August, I had little choice.

    My boss, at the risk of my sounding like a whining teenager, is known for acting very immature in the way she handles things, and also for seeking revenge on her employees through absolutely abusing them at work and ultimately by cutting hours. In June, she signed my wage paper at 7.50, and paid me for a few weeks at 7.25 an hour. Not one to let anyone walk all over me, I decided to stand up for myself and ask her after I had clocked out one night to show me the papers to make sure it was all a mistake. Claiming that she pays everyone 7.25, and I must be mistaken, she rifled through her papers, pulled mine out, and in shock, saw that she had written 7.50. She began paying me the 7.50 an hour, but my paychecks ultimately decreased in value because she began cutting my hours from about 18 hours to 15 and a half (the stipulations for the weekly bonus include the requirement that 12 hours in March-June and Sept-Oct be worked for the bonus, and in July and August, 16, but I'm unsure if that constitutes as an agreement that I would work that many hours, because I have never insinuated that I would like to work any less). A few weeks I worked 12, last week 9, and this week, where I have to draw the line, I have only two 3-hour shifts.

    We had a bit of a scene when I told her, again after I clocked out one night, that I would have to call out for a shift 6 days from that night because there was a mistake on my part with family vacation scheduling, and when I asked her what I could do about it, she told me quite plainly I would be out of a job if I didn't work that day. She took it out to my dad (wildly inappropriate, in my opinion, and his), and called me a liar to mine and my father's faces, and I don't think it's any coincidence that as soon as I returned from vacation, my weekly hours were 9 and then 6.

    I've been doing some personal research regarding labor laws, and stumbled upon one that requires hiring papers to be written and signed at the beginning of employment that include the hours the employee is going to work for, which (as far as I can remember) was not done for me, and that if they are written (as she may claim, or find a loophole through), my employer is not allowed to cut hours without notifying me. I was wondering as to the specific details regarding this, what can be done about it, and where I can find more information about it. I believe the code is the Connecticut General Statute Section 31-71f, but I haven't been able to find the specific wording of it.

    Thank you very much, Megan

  • #2
    The statute you mention is with regards to the state's definition of exempt or non-exempt employees and has nothing to do with the situation you describe.

    I am not aware of any law in any state which REQUIRES an employer to provide you with a written definition of your hours; nor am I aware of any law in any state that requires an employer to give you advance notice of having your hours cut. In general, unless you have a bona fide contract (which would be unusual in the extreme for a teenager at a fast food place) the employer is entitled to change your hours as business needs require.

    I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to post a link to the law you say you found before it can be evaluated. As far as I know, it doesn't exist. I could be mistaken; CT may have something odd that no other state has. But I have had employees in CT and unless it's been added just recently, I'm pretty sure I'd be aware of a law such as you describe.
    The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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    • #3
      I agree with cbg completely.

      I must say, however, that you are very conscientious and articulate for a 16 year old. We have lots of people post here who aren't half as bright.
      I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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      • #4
        http://www.cga.ct.gov/2001/pub/sec31-71f.htm is the website I was looking on that said hiring papers were required.

        http://www.ctdol.state.ct.us/wgwkstn....htm#pay%20cut is the website where, under the question regarding cutting hours, it says the employer must notify of a cut in hours.

        I wasn't sure who this applied to and when, also which pay period they were referring to, and what "in writing" constituted, which is why I took it to this forum... less to actually press any charges and more to have more of a basis for if I decide to quit (which would probably be beneficial for my mental health and curretnt stress levels! ahh I know summer jobs are typically at the bottom of the barrel, but it would be nice to be shown some respect.) I'm determined to stick it out, though, just because it would prove that she "wins", as childish as that sounds... everyone else in the establishment is working 3-6 days a week, most for at least 20 hours, and it just blows my mind as to why she would keep me for 6 hours a week instead of firing me altogether.

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        • #5
          And, aww, thanks, to Pattymd, it's nice to hear that every one in a while when I'm spending my summer making blizzards and putting up with constant abuse at work.... I think it's safe to say I'll be looking elsewhere for a job next summer.

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          • #6
            There was actually also another website I forgot about, sorry.

            http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache...n+31-71f&hl=en

            The article "Hiring Letters are Required by State Statute".

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            • #7
              Well, it's news to me, but it appears you are correct. I was aware that you needed to be notified in advance before your pay could be cut, but not your hours; nor had I seen the requirement that your state required notice of your hours at the time of hire. Of course, I always have provided that anyway no matter what state my employees are in, so it would never have come up.

              In any case, your recourse would be to contact your state Department of Labor since that would be the regulatory agency for such requirements.
              The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by meganld389
                There was actually also another website I forgot about, sorry.

                http://64.233.161.104/search?q=cache...n+31-71f&hl=en

                The article "Hiring Letters are Required by State Statute".
                Megan, I predict you won't be making a career in the fast food industry. You are a sharp young woman.

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                • #9
                  Sockeye, I couldn't agree more. Did we ever think we'd learn anything from a 16-year old. Good going, Megan.
                  I don't respond to Private Messages unless the moderator specifically refers you to me for that purpose. Thank you.

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                  • #10
                    Everyone is so very kind.

                    Thanks for your help in validating that this could apply... and for the faith that my next job might not have to include the phrase, "Would you like fries with that?"

                    At least I learned from all this to make sure it's completely unambiguous from the very beginning about what I'll be working... but I guess I had to learn a lesson about something out of all this.
                    Last edited by meganld389; 08-24-2005, 07:12 AM.

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