Is my employer allowed to pay me less than my wage?

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Is my employer allowed to pay me less than my wage?

I get paid $12 an hour as a swim instructor. Each class is 30 minutes long and there are usually 1-4 kids in a class. Sometimes I will have a class in which no kids show up so instead of teaching the swim lesson, I clean or do other work. When this happens, my employer reduces my pay to minimum wage for that 30 minutes since my kids didn’t show up and I wasn’t able to teach the lesson. Is this legal?

Asked on February 10, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Do you have an employment contract or union agreement that sets your wage, no matter the job that you perform? Does paying you less for a certain job constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. is the differing pay rate base on your race, religion, disability, etc.)? If not, then your employer is allowed to change your pay rate based on the specific job duties that you perform (so long as the prevailing mimimum wage rate is being met). The fact is that in an "at will" work arrangement, a business can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit.


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