Do I have a case, negotiation/ settlement power?

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Do I have a case, negotiation/ settlement power?

I was given an increase in salary with a job title for the work that I do with special needs children in the district. I have worked in that same job for 15 years. I was informed that they are eliminating this position; I am the only one who holds it and will be laying me off in 5 months unless I “bump” or “demote” to a lower paid position while continuing to work with the severely disabled child and continue with the same responsibility. They admitted that the superintendent should have created an appropriate position with appropriate pay however did not. Am I to take the fall for this? There is a special circumstances here, I am on a medical leave while this takes place. I am considering retirement with a settlement. Do I have anything to work with?

Asked on January 23, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

If you have or are subject to a written contract (whether a contract directly between you and your emploer or a union agreement) which prevents this, or which at least imposes some process or procedure they must go through to do this, you can enforce the contract's terms (e.g. in court) if beneficial to you. You therefore have whatever rights the contract (or union agreement) gives you, and must look to the terms of the contract/union agreement to determine your rights.
However, in the absence of relevant, still-in-effect (i.e. unexpired) contractual provisions protecting your current position and compensation, your employer may change you job and pay, demote you, reduce your compensation, etc. at will; all employment in this country is employment at will, which means the employer controls all aspects of your employment, except to the degree changed  by contract.


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