No. An employer in North Carolina must provide at least 24 hours notice before reducing an employee's wages. Additionally, the change cannot be retroactive, i.e. effect wages already earned. I am including a link to the NC Department of Labor's Fact Sheet on changes to wages.
Kirk J. Angel is an experienced North Carolina licensed attorney who focuses his practice on employment law. Mr. Angel, who has focused on employment law for more than 14 years, represents clients throughout North Carolina and more information about him is available at www.theangellawfirm.com This response is for general informational purposes and does not constitute legal advice. Additionally, this response does not create an attorney client relationship. If you need legal advice, please contact a lawyer in your state who practices in the appropriate area.
They should tell you before you come to work that week. Otherwise, an implied contract for the old wage exists even though its for a short period. Minimum wage is about 7.25. If this is the surviving 27% then your hourly was no less than $26.85. You may have to decide, based upon your state law, between pressing for the difference during the period it was changed without your knowledge and your need for a continuing job.
Look into other avenues as well, including age discrimination and whether the "new hires" were hired because they approached the company to target your job (tortious interference).
This is terrible. I hope that you can get redress for this. See an employment lawyer in your local area who can assist you in bringing out all of the operative facts.
Curt Harrington Patent & Tax Law Attorney Certified Tax Specialist by the California Board of Legal Specialization PATENTAX.COM This communication is general information and not legal advice, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. This communication should not be relied upon as any type of legal advice. Please note that no attorney-client relationship exists between the sender and the recipient of this message in the absence of either (1) a signed fee contract and (2) remission of an agreed-upon retainer. Absent such an agreement and retainer, I am not engaged by you as an attorney, nor is any other member of my law firm.