Can my employer give me a pay cut, lower my wages?

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Can my employer give me a pay cut, lower my wages?

After 4 years of employment, I had to take a 15% pay cut, due to less work and higher overhead costs. Can I collect unemployment wages if I decide to say no to the pay cut?

Asked on July 1, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

R.S.T., Member, NY Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I would not leave this job because it appears that you would have left voluntariliy and if you left voluntarily you cannot collect any unemployment.  As long as you did not have a contract that indicates the terms of the employment, then you are what the law calls an "at will employee."  You can be fired, demoted, at the will of the employer as long as that was not done illegally (bc of discrimination, etc.)

J.M.A., Member in Good Standing of the Connecticut Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I am a lawyer in CT and practice in this area of the law. At will employees can be fired for good bad or no reason at all.  Also, employers may cut back wages at anytime as long as they are not discriminating.  Since you indicate the reason for the paycut is not discriminatory, the employer is able to cut the pay.  If you leave the job becasue of the pay, you will not be eligible for unemployment since you left voluntarily.


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