Can an employer lower your salary without your knowledge and pay you for work already performed at that lower rate?

I have been working for a specified salary since november 28. I started out as a 1099, but as of Feb 27 became a salaried W-2 employee. I will get my first check tomorrow. However, yesterday I was informed I will be making 16k less a year and my check tomorrow for work performed the last 3 weeks, will be paid at that new lower rate. Is that even legal to do?

Asked on March 23, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you do not have protection under the terms of a union agreement or employment contract, then you are an "at will" worker. And in such an employment arrangment, a company can set the conditions of work much as it sees fit, absent some form of actionable discrimination. Therefore, it can reduce a worker's pay without notice. However, it can only do so for work not yet performed. It cannot be for work that has already been completed; in other words a reduction in pay cannot be retroactive. This all assumes of course, they you were not told or otherwise informed of this pay decrease at the time that you became a W2 employee.

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