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My employer has been using employees PTO time without there…

My employer has been...

My employer has been using employees PTO time without there consent. Example (employees who may only work 35 hours the employer will take 5 vacation hours to equal 40 full time hours) but did not inform the employee of this. Is this legal?

Lawyer's Assistant: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?

Texas

Lawyer's Assistant: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?

Full time employee

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Answered in 1 minute by:
9/28/2017
ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18,160
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
Verified

Thank you for using JustAnswer.

I'm sorry to hear about your situation. Are these hourly or salaried employees that are being affected?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
hourly employees
Customer reply replied 8 months ago
no phone call. easier to computer chat

But to be clear, there's no written policy as to when / how these hours will be paid out anyway? DId these employees typically work 40 hours a week?

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Customer reply replied 8 months ago
No. Typical employee worked 35-45 hours a week. Had accrued PTO time. Went to a new payroll system in April 2017 (after using same payroll company for a few years) and PTO time started to decrease

Thank you for that additional information. Please give me a few minutes while I type a response. I am still here with you, but it does take a bit of time to type a complete response.

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First of all, you need to understand that Texas is an "at will" employment state. At-will employment means that without a contract, you have no contractual or other right to employment with the company. The company is entitled to fire you for any reason: a good reason, a poor reason, or no reason at all--as long as the company does not fire you for an illegal reason (race, gender, age, religion, etc...). But it extends beyond firing, to hiring, promotions, demotions, wage cuts and raises, disciplinary actions, and even scheduling. Unless you can show that this was done in violation of a contract, union agreement, or a clear violation of an unambiguous and binding clause against the employer, or that it was done because of some minority status (age, race, gender, religion, disability) that you have, then they do have this discretion.

Texas law does not require employers to provide employees with sick / PTO / vacation time. If an employer chooses to provide these benefits, it must comply with the terms of its established policy or employment contract. Now it can establish a policy by "practice" rather than written policy, but to establish any sort of discrimination, you would need to show that one class of individuals was disproportionately benefited (for instance, this happened only to females but not males, etc..) to have a claim of discrimination in that matter.

Because Texas doesn't require PTO, an employer can establish any policy it wants, and change the policy at any time. Assuming that they're paying for accrued hours, it can pay them out at any time (it doesn't have to pay out only when the employee takes vacation, time off, etc...). I agree that it's unethical, immoral, and illogical to change the policy on a whim like that, but notice need only be given when it's reduced, eliminated, or the accrual method is changed.

I know this is probably not what you wanted to hear, but it is the law. I hope that clears things up anyway. If you have any other questions, please let me know. If not, and you have not yet, please rate my answer AND press the "submit" button, if applicable.

Please note that I don't get any credit for the time and effort that I spent on this answer unless and until you rate it positively (3 or more stars). Look for the stars on your screen (★★★★★). You may need to scroll left/right/up/down to see these stars, but note that the rating is what closes out this question, so it is necessary that you do so.

Thank you, ***** ***** luck to you!

ScottyMacEsq
ScottyMacEsq, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18,160
Experience: Licensed Texas General Practice Attorney
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