If your employer lowers your pay rate, it can feel very frustrating and unfair. You took the job because you thought you’d be earning a certain hourly wage or a specific salary. Now that is being changed, but you are likely expected to do the same duties that you agreed to do before.
You may feel like your employer is taking advantage of the situation and that they cannot lower your pay below the agreed-upon amount. But are they actually allowed to do so?
They have to provide notice
If an employer decides to increase someone’s pay rate, they don’t necessarily have to notify the employee. The change should be reflected on the employee‘s pay stub.
But if the employer lowers the pay rate, then they do have to inform the employee of the change. The employer has one week to do so. Lowering pay without notice is illegal because the employee deserves to consider the new rate and decide if they still want to work for the company at all.
Likewise, employers are not allowed to lower someone’s pay as a form of retaliation. For instance, if you recently filed a sexual harassment complaint with HR and then your boss told you that they were lowering your pay, that may be a violation of your rights.
Options when facing wage theft
When employers change pay rates without notification, or when they do so in an improper manner, it can be a form of wage theft. If you feel that you’ve been experiencing this, take the time to look into all of the legal options you have at your disposal.