What should I do if my employer decreased my salary but did not tell me?

UPDATED: Apr 10, 2012

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What should I do if my employer decreased my salary but did not tell me?

I worked for almost 1 month under the impression that my salary was “X” amount only to find out that I was working for almost 25% less than “X” for the past month. When I asked my supervisor, they said “Oh yeah, I forgot to mention….”. Is this illegal?

Asked on April 10, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is legal to decrease your salary, so long as you did not have an employment contract (including  union or collective bargaining agreement) setting your compensation. However, a decrease is only effective on a forward-looking basis, or from when you were told of the change. Until you are notified of the decrease, all work you do is under the previous rate--the rate which you had implicitly agreed to, in working for the company at that rate. Your salary may not be decreased retroactively; doing so violates the agreement (even if an unwritten one) under which you worked.

However, if your company will not pay you at the proper rate for that month, the only way to get the money from them would be to sue, which has its own costs. You need to evaluate whether it is worthwhile taking action.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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