Is it illegal to demote cut pay, hours and title due to looking for a new job?

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Is it illegal to demote cut pay, hours and title due to looking for a new job?

I am currently seeking a job offering health benefits. My current job I was a top
level manager. Today I was demoted to a regular crew, being offered half the
hours and a significant pay cut. Recently, another manager openly looked for
other employment and was able to keep her title and pay. Is there anything I can
do?

Asked on January 6, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Absent an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary, an employer can demote an employee, cut their pay and/or change their job title due to their looking for a new job. This is known as "at will" employment. The foregoing holds true unless such action is based on some form of legally actionable action discrimination or retaliation. This means that a worker must not receive less favorable treatment than other workers due to their inclusion in a legally "protected class" (i.e. based on their race, religion, nationality, age (over 40), disability or the like). Otherwise, not all employees need be treated the same or even fairly.


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