I am a California attorney and cannot give legal advice in your state. My comments are information only, based on federal law and general legal principles. YOUR STATE MAY HAVE ITS OWN LAWS THAT OFFER SIMILAR OR GREATER PROTECTION. If I mention your state’s laws, it only means I did a quick Internet search and found something that looked relevant. You MUST check with an attorney licensed in your state to learn your rights.
Categories such as "full-time," "part-time," "permanent," "temporary," "probationary," "regular," "casual," etc. are created and defined by an employer itself, not by law. The definition will vary from employer to employer. Employers create these categories for their own convenience, usually to indicate which employees are entitled to employee benefits and which are not.
For example, Employer No. 1 can define as "permanent" all employees who have worked six months or more, and can offer medical insurance to permanent employees only. Employer No. 1 can define as "temporary" all employees who have worked less than six months, and not offer medical insurance to temporary employees.
Employer No. 2 can define as "permanent" all employees who have worked one year or more, and can offer medical insurance and vacation to this group of employees. Employer No. 2 can define as "temporary" all employees who have worked between six months and one year, and can offer medical insurance to temporary employees but not vacation. Employer No. 2 can define as "probationary" all employees who have worked less than six months, and not offer any benefits to probationary employees.
Employer No. 3 can define as "full-time" all employees who work 30 more hours per week. Employer No. 3 can define as "part-time" all employees who work less than 30 hours per week. Employer No. 3 can offer overtime opportunities to full-time employees and not offer overtime to part-time employees.
Employer No. 4 can define as "full-time" all employees who work 40 more hours per week. Employer No. 4 can define as "part-time" all employees who work less than 40 hours per week. Employer No. 4 can treat full-time and part-time employees the same with respect to benefits or other work issues.
Some employers have policies providing that after an employee has worked a certain period of time in a particular category, the employee is moved to a different category, usually one that offers more job security or benefits. This generally happens only with government employers (federal, state, county, city) or in workplaces where employees are represented by a labor union.
*** All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and should not be considered legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts. No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. *** Marilynn Mika Spencer is licensed to practice law before all state and federal courts in California, and can appear before administrative agencies throughout the country. She is eligible to represent clients in other states on a pro hac vice basis. ***