Can my employer change or cut my hours?
Texas is an at-will employment state, meaning an employer has vast leeway in managing employees. This includes hiring, firing, or scheduling. Of course, an employer cannot take negative actions against an employee for illegal reasons. Some examples of illegal reasons to take negative employment actions against an employee can be found here on my employment law landing page.
There is no minium hour requirement for employees.
There is no minimum hours per week your employer has to employ you. However, there is a minimum wage and there are overtime pay requirements. You can read about these requirements in my article on overtime and my article on the minimum wage.
What can I do if my employer cuts my hours?
If your employer cuts your hours, you will obviously see a reduction in pay unless you are salaried - employers may not deduct a salaried employee’s pay for missed hours. A reduction in pay often puts people in a financial bind. If your employer cuts your hours so much that you cannot afford to work at that place of employment, then you may be able to resign and collect unemployment benefits under a constructive termination theory.
However, beware the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) that handles unemployment benefits claims can often make decisions that appear arbitrary. And, in most circumstances, resigning a position can / will disqualify you from receiving unemployment benefits.
There is no guarantee the TWC would not disqualify you from unemployment benefits in this situation. But, if an employer is starving an employee out, the employee may have no other choice but to resign and make a claim for unemployment benefits.
What if I think my employer cut my hours for an illegal reason?
An employer cannot reduce someone’s hours for an illegal reason, such as workplace discrimination or retaliation. Reducing someone’s hours for a prohibited reason can create a claim of discrimination in the workplace or retaliation, and the employee may be able to sue for the difference in the hours s/he should have been working.
If you think you have experienced a change in hours or a reduction in hours, consult with a Texas employment lawyer like myself. You may follow this link to schedule a consultation.