If I was laid off but now my employer wants to hire me back at lower wages for a different job is this legal?

The job would be just short of full-time but would still hurt my budget for my family. I am just not sure this is not just a sneaky way for them to get out of paying benefits and higher wages. Also, I would be going from a full-time teaching position to a para pro position at the same school. Will I lose my UI if I don’t take it?

Asked on November 8, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

1) Can an employer lay you off, then rehire you at a lower rate or in a lower-level position (or to avoid paying benefits)? Yes, so long as--

a) Doing so does not violate or contravene any employment contracts; or

b) Doing so is not discrimination against you on the basis of race, religion, age over 40 (probably the most common type of discrimination when firing higher-paid staff), sex, or disability--that's under federal law...your state may add a few other categories (e.g. sexual orientation, family status); or

c) Doing so is not retaliation against you for having filed a protected claim (e.g. for discrimination, or overtime) or having used a protected benefit (e.g. FMLA leave).

2) Will it affect your UI? There is no simple answer--it depends on whether the new position, in terms of compensation, is close enough to your old job as to be seen as a comparable position.

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