Is it legal if my employer significantly slashed my compensation but still requires the same work?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal if my employer significantly slashed my compensation but still requires the same work?

I do IT help desk work for a MSP. My job duties include logging into a call queue and waiting for customers to call with computer issues that I fix for them. We recently went 24/7 operations so somebody has to be on the phones at all times including nights, weekends, and holidays. When it comes to working ‘off hours’ shifts anything outside of 8-6 M-F we are allowed to work from home. For the whole shift, we are required to be attentive to our laptops which we use to take calls we use Vonage calling software and be ready to take calls. We used to get straight pay for hours worked from home but now my employer is calling off hours shifts

Asked on September 4, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Michigan


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, an employer can slash compensation while requiring the same work: the law does not require employment to be fair in any way.
BUT you raise a good point: that you are restricted to a location (your home) and so can't socialize, shop, run errands, play sports or go to the gym, etc., and cannot do anything that cannot be instantly put down may well cross the line from being "on call" to working, and you analogy to a firefighter is an apt one. While it's not a hard-and-fast or bright line as to when you are working instead of waiting to work, you at least present a colorable or plausible case that you should be paid on your regular hourly basis for this time. You may wish to contact your state's department of labor and/or consult with an employment law attorney to explore your rights and options further. I recommend the department of labor first: if they can help you, their help is free.

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