Can a company purchased by another force you to take a 34% wage reduction and increase your drive by mor than twice the distance?

UPDATED: Jan 25, 2012

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Can a company purchased by another force you to take a 34% wage reduction and increase your drive by mor than twice the distance?

My company was bought out by another. They want me to take a reduction in hourly wage by $3.90 per hour and drive an additional 36 miles per day. Is this a valid reason to decline an offer of a job and should I be able to receive unemployment compensation?

Asked on January 25, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Indiana


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

1) Can a company which bought your company force you to take a pay cut? Yes, just as your company, prior to the sale, could have cut your wages. Employers may cut employee compensation at will, unless the employer has an enforceable contract to the contrary.

2) Can you be made to drive further? Yes; companies decide on locations, work sites, etc. At some point, the distance will be so great as to constitute "constructive termination"--that is, that you have been effectively fired by being made to travel an unreasonably far distance. If that happens, you could likely receive unemployment compensation.

However, from what you write, that is not the case now. If you are driving an extra 36 miles per day, that means an extra 18 miles each way. If that is double your prior distance, that means your commute each way is around 36 or so miles. That is not an unreasonable amount--many people will commute 45 - 60 minutes per day each way, and 36 mile drives are not particularly long in many areas.

Therefore, from what you write, it would appear that if you quit or resigned, it would be considered a voluntary separation from employment and you would not be eligible for unemployment compensation.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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