Can my employer reduce my pay because I took an internship?

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2011

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Can my employer reduce my pay because I took an internship?

I work for a corporate entity part-time. I am required by my university to do at least 2 co-ops/internships. I took 1 for the summer, at which I am working full-time. Therefore, I had to change my availability to just once a week at my part-time job for the time being. They promptly demoted me and cut my pay by almost a dollar. I was not given any form or contract to sign. Can they legally do this?

Asked on July 15, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New York


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Yes, in fact your employer can do this; such action is legally permissible. Absent a union/employment contract or company policy to the contrary, your employer is free to decrease your hours/pay/benefits at its discretion (as long as no minimum wage or like laws are violated). The fact is that in an "at will" work relationship, you employer can set the terms of your employment as it deems fit (absent engaging in workplace discrimination). For your part you can choose to work for this employer or not.

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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