What are an employee’s rights to be changed from hourly to salary if their employee previously agreed to this?

UPDATED: Jan 8, 2011

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What are an employee’s rights to be changed from hourly to salary if their employee previously agreed to this?

My company was bought by another company 2 years ago. The group I am in is paid hourly. Last year we bought another company and we remained hourly. We were promised salary by 10/16/10 but on 10/15, they told us there is a problem with legal and salary was off the table. The problem is that when they hired new people to our group, from outside the company, they made them salary and kept us hourly. This means the new folks are getting paid more for on-call and holidays. Is this legal? Do I have any legal recourse at all?

Asked on January 8, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Wisconsin


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, you probably have no legal recourse here, unless this action (or lack thereof) violates an employment agreement, union contract, or company policy.  or if it resulted from some form of workplace discrimination.  none of which you indicated to be the case.  The fact is that most employment relationships are what is known as "at will".  What this means is that basically an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason att all, as well has increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as they see fit.  An employee in turn can work for an employer or not, their choice. 

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