Would I have a case against an employer if they cut my salary to hourly pay by more than half without notification?

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Would I have a case against an employer if they cut my salary to hourly pay by more than half without notification?

I was working at a salary of $30,600, plus commission. Upon telling my employer that I was getting ready to start school and I would need to make modifications to my schedule, I was cut down to $7.25 per hour as a part-time representative with no prior verbal or written notice of the change. When I addressed my manager, he asked me what did I expect would happen. With 10 hours of OT my check came out to $388 because of my medical benefits through my company. Everyone knows that I am a single mom of a special needs kids with many medical needs of my own. My son was recently diagnosed with absent epilepsy and will be needing further testing which requires $300 upfront payment this upcoming week. He will also be starting speech therapy which is $100 a session as well as occupational therapy for sensory integration disorder, also $100 a session. We are also having to get him tested for autism and will be having to pay for those sessions as well. In the next few weeks, I am getting a biopsy done to test for cervical cancer and that requires a payment of $367 up front as well. Knowing all of this information, my employer has reduced my pay by about 60% without any notification and I’m not sure what my rights are. Leaving the employer isn’t an option because they are the one’s who have my insurance and I cannot afford to be without insurance even for a brief period of time. Obtaining medical insurance through the state for my son has been such a hassle as well.

Asked on September 23, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Georgia

Answers:

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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Does this wage reduction violate the terms of any exisiting employment contract or union agreement? Does it constitute some form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. is it due to your race, religion, age (over 40), disability, etc.)? If not, then it is legal so long as you are being paid minimum wage and the decrease went into effect for hours going forward (i.e. hours that you already worked cannot be effected). The fact is that most employment arrangements are "at will", this means that a company can set the terms of the workplace much as it sees fit. This unfortunately includes decreasing a worker's wages without prior notice.


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