Can an employer pay an hourly employee a lower wage for attending a mandatory weekend retreat/ meeting?

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Can an employer pay an hourly employee a lower wage for attending a mandatory weekend retreat/ meeting?

Asked on September 8, 2015 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Yes, the employer can do this so long as--
1 There is no written employment contract setting the employee's wage, since the employer cannot violate the terms of such a contract
2 The employee receives notice of the lower wage prior to attending the retreat--while employers may change employee wages at will, and can pay employees different wages for different job tasks or days of work, such changes are only effective from the moment they are told to the employee forward...that is, such changes cannot be retroactive and
3 The employee always needs to earn at least minimum wage.
However, if the employer complies with the above, they can pay the employee lower wages for the retreat, since the law does not require consistent wages for all aspects of an employee's job, and when there is no written employment contract, wages may be changed at will.


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