Is it legal for a company to pay transferred employees less than their existing employees after an acquisition?

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Is it legal for a company to pay transferred employees less than their existing employees after an acquisition?

One of the companies I work for recently sold to another company in the same field. All non-exempt employees in my position are being transferred to the new company and were told we will be staying at our current, minimum wage, pay rate. The company we will be working for has a starting wage that is around $4 per hour higher than our currrent rate of pay for the exact same scope of work with all the same requirements and expectations. Is it legal for them to acquire us as their employees, have us fill out all the same new hire paperwork and applications as anyone else would but not pay us what their usual starting wage would be?

Asked on January 7, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Absent some form of legally actionable discrimination (that is unfavorable treatment due to race, relgion, age (over 40), disability, etc.), not all employees need be treated the same or even fairly. The fact is that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. So unless you have protection under the terms of a union agreement or employment contract, you have no claim here.


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