can my employer change my pay rate without notice?

My employer has changed my pay rate and won’t give me my paystubs. Every week my pay keeps getting lower. Can he do that and what should I do? He has shorted me $1000 as of now.

Asked on October 28, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Nebraska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Your pay rate may be changed at will *after* notice: for example, Monday morning as you walk in the office door, the employer can tell you that your rate is 10% less, and from that moment forward, you can be paid the lower amount. But an employer may not retroactively reduce your rate: all work you do is paid at the then-in-effect rate until notice is provided of a change. For example, say you earn $15/hour and work 40 hours week 1, and so should be paid $600. When you get your paycheck in week 2 for week 1, the employer cannot pay you only $540 and say he had cut your pay by 10%: the work already done must be at the rate you were then being paid. Employment is essentially a contractual relationship in this regard: you agree to work in exchange for $X pay. If you do your part--you do the work--the employer is contractually obligated to do his part and pay you the agreed-upon amount. If he does not, you could sue (e.g. in small claims court, as your own attorney or "pro se" to save money) for what you should have been paid, but weren't. You would sue based on breach of contract: the employer violating what he agreed.

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