Can I demote a manager if there has been no write-ups?

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Can I demote a manager if there has been no write-ups?

We are a small company that has about 20 employees. We are going through changes and want to demote a “anager” to just an employee. As a manager he offers no input to anything, does enough to get by and lets others know these things. He has been a manager for 5 years and used to care. We have demoted other managers in the past. I talk to him about these things but nothing is written. Can I demote this manager with no recourse from him?

Asked on May 8, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

If he does not have any employment contract, he is an employee at will. An employee at will could be terminated--or alternatively, demoted, suspended, have pay cut, duties changed, or be transfered--at any time, for any reason which is not illegal discrimination. If he is over 40 or belongs to a racial or religious minority (or is disabled), he is presumptively in a protected category. That does not mean that he cannot be demoted, but it would be a good idea to first create a "paper trail" or other evidence of the non-discriminatory reasons (such as lack of energy, poor performance, etc.), to which you could refer if he attempts to claim discrimination. That is not to say that you cannot demote him without said paper trail or evidence--just that, if someone is a member of a protected category, it is wise to document the issues or problems first.


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