Can a company legally cut pay without prior notification?

My wife received a 9% pay cut without notification. Is that legal?

Asked on August 26, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

So long as this pay cut is for work yet to be done, it is unfortunately legal. A pay decrease can go into effect, without prior notice to the employee, for all furture work hours. That is unless this action constitutes some form of legally actionable discrimination or a breach of an employment contract or union/collective bargaining agreement (neither of which you indicated). The fact is that most employment is "at will" which means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. This includes last minute wage decreases.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.