Can my employer legally demote me and take my pay without cause?

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Can my employer legally demote me and take my pay without cause?

I am currently an assistant store leader. I’ve been with the company about 15 months. About 2 weeks ago, my store leader told us that our location would be closing on the 9th of this month for 2 reasons. The first is that the store has been on a downward trend for about 4 years now and the second is that they are raising the rent. Just this week they announced where they would be placing us and everyone gets to keep their position except me. I was told that our district has no open ASL positions and I would have to work somewhere else as an SGA, which is a 20 hour position no benefits and a lower pay rate. Only weeks ago, I enrolled in a benefits program through the company and I also received a .55 cent raise. Upon the discussion of my placement, I asked what was going to happen to my pay rate and I was informed that it would drop to whatever the SGA pay rate is. I don’t mind the hours but my pay rate and benefits are my concern, can they legally do this? Is there anything that I can about this demotion? Must I accept it including reduced pay and benefits?

Asked on May 31, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Do you have an employment contract or union agreement that gives you protection against this job change? Is this demotion being done as form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. it is due to your race, religion, gender, nationality, age (over 40) or disability)? If not then you have no claim here. The fact is that most work relationships are "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of work much as it sees fit. Accordingly, it can demote (or even terminate) an employee for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice.

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Do you have an employment contract or union agreement that gives you protection against this job change? Is this demotion being done as form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. it is due to your race, religion, gender, nationality, age (over 40) or disability)? If not then you have no claim here. The fact is that most work relationships are "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of work much as it sees fit. Accordingly, it can demote (or even terminate) an employee for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice.


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