What laws protect an employee against being indirectly forced to quit?

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What laws protect an employee against being indirectly forced to quit?

My wife and I were hired by a company 12 years ago. Since then the owner has retired and his 3 kids have taken over. They want our salaries. We have had 3 meetings over the past 2 months and now they are stating that at the next meeting they are going to cut our wages salaries repeatedly until we quit. We need the unemployment to protect us while we look for jobs or we will loose our house. Are there any laws that protect us?

Asked on August 21, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

They can legally keep cutting your salaries, as long as you don't have an employment contract protecting or guarantying what you earn. In the absence of a contract, an employer is free to change employee salary/wages at will (as long as it always pays at least minimum wage). If they do cut your salary too much, it may be that you will be considered to have been "constructively" fired or terminated (i.e. effectivcely fired) and be eligible for unemployment; if your salary is reduced so far that you can't afford to keep working there, you should file a claim. You obviously should start looking for new jobs immediately, also.


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