What are my rights if my employer wants me back full-time but at less pay than when I was salaried?

I was a salaried full-time employee. I requested and agreed to work part-time at a reduced hourly rate to raise my newborn. Now, 2 years later, my employer wants me back full-time but at less pay than when I was salaried. Can I refuse the full-time because of the reduced salary proposal and collect if they tell me to take the new full-time pay or quit?

Asked on September 30, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can refuse, but if you do, they may be able to fire you "for cause" for insubordination and/or for not following your employer's instructions or doing the job/duties/hours they tell you to do the employer has a right to change your hours, duties and compensation at will, so refusing what they tell you to do can be considered grounds for being fired for cause. Alternately, they could treat your refusal to do the job they tell you to do as resignation. In either event, if they fire you for cause or treat your refusal as a resignation, you would be ineligible for unemployment. Note nothing requires an employer to take you back or keep you at a certain wage--your employer, after all, may reduce an employee's pay at will. You may be off taking the change to full time while looking for a new job.

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