If after starting a new job they’ve informed me the hourly rate was misquoted and I’ll receive less pay, is this legal?

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If after starting a new job they’ve informed me the hourly rate was misquoted and I’ll receive less pay, is this legal?

Asked on September 7, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, employers are free to set--or change--wages, salary, or other compensation at will, whenever they like. That said, there are some situations where they cannot:

1) If there is an actual employment contract setting the rate, it is enforceable.

2) If to take this job you had to leave an existing job or relocate; and you did so in large part based on the promised rate; and the employer knew you'd have to leave a job or relocate, but knowing that, promised you a certain rate specifically to get you to take the job offer . . . if all these criteria are met, you may be able to enforce the promised rate under the theory of "promissory estoppel" (also known as "detrimental reliance").

3) If discrimination is involved: that is, if you are being paid less than workers with the same seniority and experience/credentials, doing the same or similar jobs, on account of your race, sex, religion, disabilty, age over 40, etc.

If you think on of the above situations applies, speak with an employment law attorney. Otherwise, they can reduce your rate.


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