Is an employer required to give advanced notice of a pay decrease to a salaried employee?

UPDATED: Aug 16, 2011

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Is an employer required to give advanced notice of a pay decrease to a salaried employee?

I am a salaried employee for a private company in TN. I received my paycheck and it was substantially lower than those that I have received in the past despite my role and responsibility within the company being the exact same. When I inquired with my employer, they told me that the budget was tight so they cut my pay without telling me. Is this legal?

Asked on August 16, 2011 Tennessee


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

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

I'm afraid that this action is legal. That is unless you have an employment/union agreement that prohibits action, or in some way violates company policy,  or it is a result of discrimination. Absent any of the foregoing your employer was well within its legal rights. The reason is that most states employment relationships are "at will" and TN is no exception. What this means is that an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason at all, as well has increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as it sees fit - with or with out notice.  In turn, an employee can choose to continue to work for an employer or not. 

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