Can an employer legally decrease your pay without notice?

I was hired and agreed to a specific wage and my employer has now decreased my pay, when I noticed the error I reported it to HR and they claim I was under the wrong job code and now I am in the correct one. This explanation is not valid because it was the wage I had agreed to during hiring process. This change happened after working there 1.5 years. I had been getting the agreed wage during that time. I currently still work here and it has now been almost 4 months since I reported this error and nothing has been fixed.

Asked on March 14, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 2 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have a union agreement or employment contract that guarantees your rate of pay, your company can reduce your wage as it sees fit. The fact is that most work relationships are "at will" so an employer can set the conditions of the workplace much as it deems appropriate (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). That having been said, no pay reduction can be made without notice. In other words, such a decrease cannot be made retroactively. You must be paid at your old rate up to the time that you were notified of the pay reduction.


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