Is it legal for your employer to classify you as exempt but then try to reclassify you as non-exempt and give you a lesser title and reduce your pay but with the same job duties?

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Is it legal for your employer to classify you as exempt but then try to reclassify you as non-exempt and give you a lesser title and reduce your pay but with the same job duties?

After returning from a medical leave my boss told me that I have required hours as an

exempt employee. To be at work from 8-5 as a new rule and at 7:30 when I

manage projects. I asked why when my hours have been flexible as long as I worked

my 8 hours and did my job, plus if I had outside personal obligations that I may have to attend. She then told me that I’m thinking like a non-exempt employee and if I want to clock in and out as such she will have to decrease my salary and my title yet keep my same job responsibilities. Mind you, I am not management and it’s truly a debate if I should be exempt or non-exempt status under the administrative rule.

Asked on December 14, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

1) An employer may freely make an exempt employee non-exempt instead; being exempt is not mandatory, so even if the employees qualifies for it, the employer can choose to have them be non-exempt.
2) Employers may freely change or reduce job titles, and/or change or reduce pay, at will, unless there is a written employement contract to the contrary. In the absence of a contract, title, pay, and duties are completely up tot he employer.  (Remember: when there is no contract, employment is "employment at will.")
3) In line with the above, and employer can reduce title and pay while keeping your duties the same--or even increasing them.


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