What to do if my employer is forcing me to switch jobs?

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What to do if my employer is forcing me to switch jobs?

I work for a railroad and they are forcing people to go to be engineers. They are forcing anyone that has 2 years or more service. The problem with this is that the training and the engineer job is far less pay then the conductor job. Also, your seniority to hold jobs starts at the bottom again. I had choose to not go to be a engineer years back and now they are forcing me behind everyone that I have more years of service then. All this doesn’t seem right.

Asked on February 25, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Except if there is an employment agreement or union contract which controls this situation, it is legal for a company to make employees change jobs, to reduce their pay, and to ignore seniority. That is because without a contract, you are an employee at will; an employee at will may be transferred, demoted, have duties, job description, title, and/or shifts changed, be suspended, have pay reduced, and/or be fired at any time, for any reason. Employers decide who to employ, in what capacity, for what compensation.

If  there is a contract, including a union agreement, then its terms must be honored; otherwise, the company is free to reassign you, even if it means losing pay and seniority. Seniority doesn't count for anything legally, unless there is a contract, such as union or collective bargaining agreement, giving it weight; otherwise, it's up to the company how much weight, if any, to give to seniority.


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