Can employment status be changed without notice?

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Can employment status be changed without notice?

Working for an independently owned insurance company for 9+ years. The owner informed the staff that present salary (which was cut 15% in 2010) would now be cut in 1/2 and the staff would be working part-time. Can the owner not pay us for the month of January our full salary without any notice of change? Also, we were given the option to sign an agreement to start part-time on 02/01/11 or we could quit. Is the legal? Does an employee have any rights? I can’t afford to quit. I will be 65 this year.

Asked on January 31, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If you don't have an employment contract. you are an employee at will. An employer may change the pay, hours, status, duties, title, etc. of an employee at will whenever the employer wants, though only on a forward-looking basis; e.g. if a pay cut is announced, it doesn't wages earned up to the moment of the announcement, though it can take effect from that moment on. And an employer may also demand that an employee at will agrees to reduced hours or else be fired. In this context, unless you're being discriminated against because of race, sex, religion, age over 40 (and discrimiantion means being treated differently than those under 40, on account of age), or a disability, the employee, unfortunately, has no rights.


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