Can a company lower my hourly wage to minimum wage, even though I was hired making way more than minimum wage?

Asked almost 5 years ago - West Covina, CA

I've been working for Dish Network for a little over three years, and for those three years they have paid me an hourly wage,and now that the economy has been bad, I guess our company needs to cut down on there expenses, even though we just hit 14 million customers this past year, wow.Our H.R rep, and our general manager have been hinting to us that corporate wants to drop our pay rate to as low as minimum wage and pay us incentives on piece work that is assigned to us.I have read our employee hand book and it simply states that we are hired hourly non exempt employees, meaning we are paid a fixed hourly rate for forty hours worked plus overtime. No where on they're employee hand book does it state that they have the right to lower our wages. Could we take them to court, if they try?

Attorney answers (3)

  1. Steven Alan Fink

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . CA is an at-will employment state. This means they can fire you for any reason or no reason, just not an illegal reason. Similarly, they can reduce your salary instead of firing you. You can accept the reduction or find a new job. What they cannot do is lower your hourly for work already performed. You cannot take them to court.



    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change.

  2. Pamela Koslyn

    Contributor Level 20

    Answered . You're an "at will" employee, as most employees, are, meaning you have no written contract that says your salary shall be $XXX and you're employment lasts untill X/X/2011, and you can only be fired for "cause," or "good cause," and you have no union membership, which restricts how the employer can treat you.

    In France, for example, the employees have real rights, but not here in the U.S. Here you just have the same "at will" right to quit without notice for no reason, like they can fire you without notice for no reason. While they do have to follow their own work policies, they don't have to have work policies that restrict their freedom to fire you, so they don't. They can do less than fire you, too, like reduce your hourly wage, or take away benefits or reduce your hours and make you part time, etc.

    If you want that to change, always vote, and always vote for the most progressive/liberal Green pro-employee candidate you can, and tell your elected representatives in the U.S. Congress and in the CA Assembly and Senate that you want job protections for all workers. Republicans consistently make laws favoring the businesses that give them big contributions and not for their individual constituents, Democrats are much more likely to make laws favoring the little guy, and progressive/liberal/Green candidiates make the Democrats look like Republicans.

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

  3. Emanuel Soleiman Shirazi

    Pro

    Contributor Level 11

    Answered . If you are at-will with no other express promises they can reduce your wage to the minimum wage.

    Disclaimer: Please note that this answer does not constitute legal advice, and should not be relied on, since each state has different laws, each situation is fact specific, and it is impossible to evaluate a legal problem without a comprehensive consultation and review of all the facts and documents at issue. This answer does not create an attorney-client relationship.

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