Can a company start my pay at a certain amount and then lower it the next couple of checks?

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Can a company start my pay at a certain amount and then lower it the next couple of checks?

Asked on November 12, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, an employer is free to set the terms and conditions of employment, including rate of pay, and to change it at will--so generally speaking, yes: your employer may reduce your pay. Here are the exceptions to that rule:

1) You have an employment contract or agreement setting or guarantying your pay. If so, you may enforce it.

2) To take this job, you either gave up another job or relocated, and did so based on an explicit representation (promise) by the employer that you would be paid at a certain level; the fact that you took action to your detriment based on a promise of pay at a certain level could act to make the promise enforceable.

3) Your pay was lowered due to discmination against you on the basis of your race, sex, religion, age over 40, disability, etc.

4) Your pay was lowered to retaliate for your having used some protected benefit (like FMLA leave) or having brought a protected claim (e.g. for overtime, worker's compensation, or that you had been discriminated against).


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 AttorneyPages.com 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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