Can an employer demote a salaried employee to an hourly employee and then cut their hours to part-time just to make the employee quit so that they’re ineligible to collect unemployment?

Asked on November 4, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes the employer can do this, so long as there is no written employment contract preventing this: otherwise, an employer has full and free discretion over employee hours and compensation. However, if your pay is cut sufficiently, that may be considered being "constructively terminated," or having your job changed so much for the worse it is equivalent (more or less) to being fired. There is no hard and fast number for what constitutes constructive termination in terms of reduced pay, but if your weekly pay has been cut by 1/3 or more, you may well be able to quit and still collect UI. You may wish to call the labor department to discuss the matter and see if they can provide some guidance about your specific case.

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