Am I able to take legal action against my employer for dropping my pay rate after I quit?

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Am I able to take legal action against my employer for dropping my pay rate after I quit?

I quit my job without giving a 2-week notice to my previous employer. In GA, employers have the right to lower my pay if I quit without notice, but the issue is a bit deeper. I am currently receiving child care assistance through the department of family and children services. To receive this assistance, I must work at least 25 hours a week. Well, 2 weeks prior to my resignation, the company cut my hours because my child was sick 4  days that week. This disqualified me from recieving childcare. I was forced to find employment before my they canceled it. Do I have a case?

Asked on April 1, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you almost certainly do not have a cause of action, with one exception which I'll detail below, if you did not have a contract. The problem is, without a contract, you are an employee at will, and an employee at will may be fired--or demoted, or have hours or pay rate cut, etc.--at any time for any reason. That means that if the company wants to cut your hours, they may.

By the way, unless you have a contract which has a notice period, 2 weeks notice, while traditional is not required and does not give you any rights. Your employer could have said, "Well, good bye and good luck" the moment you gave your notice and terminated your employment on the spot--and most companies I've worked with would have done this.

If the company has not done this to other employees who've given notice, you might have an employment discrimination claim if you can show that you are receiving worse treatment because of a protected category--e.g. because of your race, sex, religion, age over 40, or disability. However, if you have found other employment and have not actually been injured in any significant way (didn't lose insurance, or only lost a week or two), it may not be worthwhile pursuing the matter.


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