Can an employer change a set wage down to minimum wage automatically if terminated?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer change a set wage down to minimum wage automatically if terminated?

My ex-employer made employees sign a document for a wage decrease. If we are terminated or quit without 2 weeks notice, they change your wages back down to minimum wage. Is this legal? My former employer is doing this to me.

Asked on May 13, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you signed the agreement for a wage decrease, it is legal: you contractually agreed to this, and that contract is enforceable. You say they "made" the employees sign this agreement, but in the law's eyes, the choice to sign was voluntary, since you could have refused to sign and sought other employment. Employment in this nation is "employment at will": among other things, that means that the employer may set essentially terms or conditions it likes on employment, since there is no right to or guaranty of a job; and if employees do not like those terms and conditions, they do not need to work there.

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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