Can I be demoted without notice?

UPDATED: Mar 28, 2012

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Can I be demoted without notice?

I have been with my trash company for 5 years. I never had an accident caused by myself until last week. Now they say I can no longer be used as a driver, only a helper at a wage cut. Is that legal?

Asked on March 28, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, District of Columbia


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

The only real question is whether you had an employment contract (including a union agreement) which either guaranteed your position and salary, or else provided some disciplinary process which must be followed. If you had such a contract, it is enforceable, and you could only be demoted and have your pay cut in accordance with it.

However, without a contract, your employer may reduce your salary/wages and/or demote you at any time, for any reason, without any prior or advance notice. That is because without such a contract, you are an employee at will, and your employer may do anything up to and including terminating you whenever they choose.

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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