If I was a public school teacher and laid off 5 months ago due to budget cuts, can the district rehire me now for the same exact position but at a lower salary?

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If I was a public school teacher and laid off 5 months ago due to budget cuts, can the district rehire me now for the same exact position but at a lower salary?

I taught 4 periods in 4 different schools and had to travel between those everyday. I was paid 6/5 (2 periods paid to compensate for the travel time between schools). I was first laid off then given back the exact same position I had before but paid only 5/5. Are they allowed to do that? Letting me go then rehiring me 2 months later for the same job with a lesser pay? I am the only 1 doing this in the disctrict; nothing is written in the teachers contract. They created the compensation the 1st year can they change it now?

Asked on August 3, 2011 California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

First and foremost, if your job was covered under a union or collective bargaining agreement, you have to see what it says about terminatino, rehiring, etc.--if the agreement covers this situation, its terms will control.

Second, without the above, an employer generally can fire someone and rehire them at a lower level or salary, since except to the degree covered by a union agreement (or a personal employment contract with the employee) the employer could have simply reduced your pay without firing you first. Employers, except as limited by contracts, control compensation. Again, the contract, if any, is critical.

An exception to the above is that employers may not discriminate against a protected category, such as a racial group, a sex, a religion, the disabled, or those over age 40, in employment, including in firing and compensation. If you believe that you suffered negative consequences due to your membership in a protected category, you may have an employment discrimination claim.


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