Does an employer have to disclose an employee’s hourly wage or salary before they begin working?

The company that I work for was acquired by another company. As of tomorrow the old company no longer exists an we are under new ownership and management. I work for a physician’s office that was bought out by a hospital. No one in the company has been informed of their new wage with the new company. All that we were told was that some will get raises, stay the same and some will take pay cuts. We are expected to begin work on Monday without knowing what wage we are working for. Is this legal? Do they have to tell their employees their wages before we begin work?

Asked on January 2, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Ohio


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

While an employer may change wages, compensation, etc. at any time--assuming there is no employment agreement of some sort, and also assuming it is done in a non-discriminatory way (e.g. no reducing the pay of all women, but not men)--changes are only effective from the time of their annoucement forward. A change in ownership does not alter that if you work for the company without any notice of a different wage, you will still be paid the same, until you receive that notice. Of course, if the company does try to "retroactively" apply some change in wage, it may not be worthwhile fighting if the change is fairly nominal, but that's a practical, not legal question. Legally, they have  to give notice of changes before they take effect.

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