Can my employer cut my pay without my consent?

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Can my employer cut my pay without my consent?

I’ve had 3 pay cuts in the last 10 years and have lost my health benefits. I haven’t had a raise in 14 years. My employer cut my pay 8% a month ago and told me he would fire me if I talked about it with any of my fellow employees. Can he legally do this?

Asked on April 4, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you employer may do this. Employers do not need employee consent to cut their pay or benefits--employers have, except as set forth below, complete discretion over employee compensation and may reduce it at all. An employer can also make it a term or condition of employment that compensation not be disclosed or discussed, and terminate an employee who violates that rule.

There are exceptions:

1) If you have an employment contract, it is enforceable--therefore, if your contract sets your compensation, you must be paid as per the contract.

2) You cannot be targetted for a pay cut because of a protected characteristic--that is, for example, you cannot have you pay cut because of your race, religion, age over 40, sex, or disability.

But apart from the above, your employer can cut your pay.


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