I work at a diner and received a bad comment on the diners web site. I was told my hourly pay will be reduced due to receiving this comment. So i was wondering if this is legal? I was not told i was only temporary. So i think that from now on this is where my hourly pay will stay. My new hourly rate is still above the minimum wage.
If you are employee at will and I assume you are, your employer may reduce your hourly wage unless you have a contract that states otherwise. However, your employer may not reduce your wages for hours already performed.
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There is nothing unlawful about the employer of an at will employee temporarily reducing the employee's wage as a form of discipline, as long as it is not retroactive and as long as you remain at or above the minimum wage.
Good luck to you.
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Yes, your employer can reduce your hourly pay for future work (not for work already performed) for having received bad comments, for punishment, or for almost any reason it wants. But you might be able to persuade the employer not to do this. Keep reading.
First, employees and job applicants have very few employment rights, and employers have a lot of leeway in how they choose to run their businesses. In general, an employer can be unfair, obnoxious or bad at management. And an employer can make decisions based on faulty or inaccurate information. An employer has no obligation to warn an employee that he or she is not performing as the employer wants. It’s not a level playing field. An employer hires employees to provide work for its benefit, not for the benefit of the employees. Don't expect the employer to take care of its employees; it doesn’t have to and it rarely does.
There are some limitations on what an employer can do, mostly in the areas of public policy (such as discrimination law or whistle blowing), contract law, union-employer labor relations, and constitutional due process for government employees. Please see my guide to at-will employment in California which should help you understand employment rights: http://www.avvo.com/legal-guides/ugc/an-overview-of-at-will-employment-all-states. After you take a look at the guide, you may be able to identify actions or behavior that fits one of the categories that allows for legal action. If so, an experienced plaintiffs employment attorney may be helpful.
Now with a better understanding of your limited legal rights, think about a strategic solution instead. If you have not (yet) been fired, try hard to prevent that; convincing an employer to reverse an action already taken is difficult.
Consider tackling this directly, professionally and respectfully. Understand the company may have misunderstood events or perhaps felt there was something wrong with your work but never told you. Ask to speak with HR. Maybe something was misinterpreted, though probably not. But if so, you can explain your side. A mature conversation may change the way the employer treats you and may cause a change in the decision.
Whatever you do, don't challenge the employer’s authority. Indicate you want to continue your working relationship and value your job. Explain you care about doing a good job. Mention your good or long work record if you have one. Explain you would never intentionally do anything against the company's or your boss' interest.
Do not blame anyone else even if you believe someone deserves it; this cannot help you. Only talk about yourself, that you want to do a good job, and you regret the situation. Ask what you can do to improve things for the future. Don't give anyone a reason to get angry.
The company may see you more favorably after this. Even if it doesn’t save your job, it may prevent a fight about unemployment and might get you a good job reference.
Remember, an employer doesn't need a reason to fire you. And as we all know, the current economy is tough and jobs are hard to come by. So try to keep this job.
Employment rights come from the state and federal legislatures. One of the best things people can do to improve their employment rights is vote for candidates with a good record on pro-employee, anti-corporate legislation. Another way to protect employment rights is to form or affiliate with a union, or participate in a union already in place.
I hope there is a good resolution to this situation.
@MikaSpencer * * * PLEASE READ: All legal actions have time limits, called statutes of limitation. If you miss the deadline for filing your claim, you will lose the opportunity to pursue your case. Please consult with an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible to better preserve your rights. * * * Marilynn Mika Spencer provides information on Avvo as a service to the public, primarily when general information may be of assistance. Avvo is not an appropriate forum for an in-depth response or a detailed analysis. These comments are for information only and must not be taken as legal advice. Legal advice must pertain to specific, detailed facts which are impossible to gather on a public web site like Avvo. * * * No attorney-client relationship is created based on this information exchange. * * *
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