Do I have a case, negotiation/ settlement power?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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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


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 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.

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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