If my employer reduced my salary so I quit, do they have grounds to fight my unemployment compensation?

Recently my employer said my work was “not up to company standards” and the third party client wanted a change. My company offered me another position at far less than what I was making before. I was only making $14/hr. They offered me $9.50/hr and I turned it down.

Asked on October 27, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Normally, if you leave employment voluntarily, you can't collect unemployment. And normally, your employer has free rein to set--or reduce--compensation at will. Sometimes, however, if your compensation is reduced by a sufficiently dramatic amount, that may be considered "constructive termination": being forced to quit because the job became unreasonable or untenable. The reduction your describe was $4.50 per hour on an initial base of $14, which represents a more-than one-third reduction. That may be enough to qualify as constructive discharge or termination. If denied unemployment, it would be worthwhile for you to appeal the denial on that basis; while it is not guaranteed that you'd win, you have a plausible case.


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