• Working in the US in Wisconsin.
  • Started at Company X as part-time (9am - 2pm)
  • Transitioned to full-time hours (9am - 5pm)
  • Recently discovered that I was still classified as a part-time employee
  • According to Company X's employee handbook, 40 hours a week is the requirement to be considered a full-time employee
  • I have been working 40 hour weeks for over a year and a half
  • This was discovered when I talked to HR about missing PTO
  • Had a HR and manager meeting to instate medical benefits and vacation
  • I was given 4/10 vacation days to use for the rest of the year, calculated based on time left in the year, and denied payment for previous claimed "PTO" due to them saying they can't add it on past paychecks?

Given the above information I'm struggling to figure out what to do. Obviously management knew, I was screwed over intentionally by not classifying me correctly. This is 100% against Company X's handbook.

What I'm trying to figure out is if the PTO I took in the previous calendar year wasn't paid, the PTO I took this year wasn't paid can be recuperated as well as my full 10 days of PTO that I have been cheated out of.

All I have done so far is have had that HR meeting with my manager to get my medical benefits, nothing more has been signed done or otherwise sorted out from my end because of these looming issues.

I feel like they are trying to pull a fast one over me for what I am owed.


Should I approach this as a back-pay issue or a labor classification issue. Do I need a lawyer or can I draft a letter on my own?

Advice on what direction to go and how to proceed would be amazing!

  • 1
    "Obviously management knew" how do you know this is the case, is it possible to be an oversight when processing the change? If everyone thought it was doen correctly, they wouldn't look again.
    – cdkMoose
    Oct 10, 2019 at 19:52
  • You've described what has happened to you in good detail - but what is your actual question? You may want to look through the help center and edit your question to make it a little more clear.
    – dwizum
    Oct 10, 2019 at 20:14
  • @dwizum Updated the question. Oct 10, 2019 at 20:25
  • "Obviously management knew" - You cannot say this for certain. They are certainly aware of it now. "Do I need a lawyer" - Yes; "Should I approach this as a back-pay issue" - Yes
    – Donald
    Oct 10, 2019 at 21:11
  • If they'd overpaid, I bet they'd be able to figure it out. Oct 10, 2019 at 22:10

3 Answers 3


See a labor law attorney, and check the laws of your state. You may or may not be entitled to back pay or benefits, but it varies wildly from state to state.


You will have to gather all the information you have regarding time cards, employee handbooks, and any correspondence between you and the company.

The timeline will be vary important. Many companies say that a part-time employee can occasionally work 40 hours in some weeks if the is a temporary need. They may specify a threshold of hours in a year, or some other metric before the employee is automatically re-classified.

While you mention 40 hours a week in your question, you have to also realize that the threshold for some benefits are lower by federal, state and local laws. This can include health insurance, vacation, sick, holidays, access to the 401(k)...

Talk to a local labor law attorney. They can determine when the various provisions kicked in. In some cases those events can help or hurt you. For example you may have qualified for health insurance months ago, and it may be determined that you have to wait until the next open season to get the insurance. This is just a possible example I am not a lawyer.

You may have to disconnect the idea that your manager knew about this oversight. It is likely that they don't have insight into what appears on their employees paychecks. They generally don't see the costs of benefits unless they also have budget responsibility. But it is also possible that they should have been aware of this. Moving from part-time to full-time does cost the company money, so it is possible your manager was supposed to keep you under the threshold, and they failed to do that. You may see pressure to switch you back to part-time. I have known companies where they watched the hours very carefully, so the part-timer would have their hours scaled back at the end of the quarter to keep them under the threshold.


I was screwed over intentionally by not classifying me correctly.

It is a very dangerous sentence, because you cannot prove it, and it actually might be false altogether. What you may be able to claim is:

I was classified incorrectly, possibly by mistake. But I am now intentionally screwed, because the company does not want to repair the damage, to the best extent realistically possible.

What you can / should do:

  • make sure you have proof that you were transitioned to full-time; it can be a new contract, an appendix to the contract, an e-mail... anything written by the company that the decision was made;
  • keep talking with your manager that you are not after creating trouble, but you only want what is fair: to have the mistake corrected;
  • if the manager cannot / does not want to help, go to upper management;
  • HR will do nothing without approval from upper management; if they were not friendly enough from the beginning, they will not be friendly suddenly afterwards - it means that you need to talk to upper management;
  • seek to solve your problem, do not seek revenge, or guilty parties;

If you have proof of transitioning, and talking inside the company does not work, a lawyer is the best bet, unfortunately.

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