Can an employer change your job benefits after you start your employment with them?

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Can an employer change your job benefits after you start your employment with them?

I accepted a job with a large company for a full-time position at an hourly rate. With that position it requires me to travel to different facilities around the area. For that position I was told it would be my base pay and a $2.50 per hour differential, plus mileage from my home unit. Now 6 weeks into the job they are telling me the differential is only $1.50 per hour and no mileage.

Asked on November 13, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Mississippi

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Most employment is "at will" which means that, absent a union agreement or employment contract to the contrary, a business can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. This includes when and why to reduce a worker's wages, at least as long as such action is not the result of actionable discrimination. However, such a reducton can only be for hours not yet worked; it cannot apply to hours already worked. Basically then, wages cannot be cut retroactively. If your employer will not make up the shortfall in your  hourly rate, you can either file a wage claim with your state's department of labor or sue in small claims court.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, your employer can absolutely do this unless you had a written employment contract guarantying your benefits and other compensation. All employment in this country is employment at will unless and only to the extent otherwise changed by contract; among other things, that means your employer can change your compensation and benefits at will--you are not, without a written contract, guaranteed any particular compensation.


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