Can an employer demote me because they don’t “think”Iwill be able to make it to work, even though i haven’t missed a day or been late in months?

I’ve been working for my employer over 3 years. I was laid off 13 months ago in a management position. I was rehired as management and they just got a new project that they want me to transfer to, however they want to demote me back to entry level because my supervisor doesn’t think Iwill have a vehicle in the next 2 months. He assured me I wasn’t being demoted because of performance, or attendance he just doesn’t “know for sure” if I will be able to make it to work. So he replaced me with someone who doesn’t have a vehicle either.

Asked on September 4, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If you have an employment contract or agreement guarantying your title, level, opportunities, salary, etc., that agreement may be enforced.

If you do not have such an agreement or contract, however, you are an employee at will. An employee at will may be demoted, transferred, have duties or title changed, pay reduced, etc.--or even be terminated entirely--at any time, for any reason, including simply that the employer wants to do any of these things. Thus, if you are an employee at will, your employer  "thinking" that a position will not work out for some reason--any reason--is enough for a demotion. Also, employers don't have to be consistent or fair in how they treat staff, with one exception: it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of a person's race, religion, age over 40, disability, or sex.

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