Must my employer give me written notification of a pay decrease before decreasing my pay?

This past Friday I was told that I would be getting a pay cut of 10%. I have not received any written documentation and today is our payday. She cannot retroactively give me a pay cut, correct? Also. If she fails to give me written notice before tomorrow (the start of our next payperiod), does the paycut take effect for that payperiod or the following?

Asked on August 30, 2011 Pennsylvania

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

No, your employer cannot retroactively reduce your pay. You are entitled to your previous pay rate for work already performed. But moving forward is another matter. Unless you have an employment/union agreement that prohibits such action, or the pay cut in some way violates company policy, or it is a result of actionable discrimination. Absent any of the foregoing your employer was well within its legal rights; such a decrease is perfectly permissible. 

The reason is that most states employment relationships are "at will". Basically, this means is that an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason at all, as well has increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as it sees fit - with or with out notice.  In turn, an employee can choose to continue to work for an employer or not. 


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