Can an employer change your rate of pay with out warning?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer change your rate of pay with out warning?

I was offered a pay rate amount of $13.92 in writing. I have been paid the amount $13.92 from day one of my hiring. All of a sudden my pay rate has changed to $10.19 without any warning or explanation. So I went to the compensation department and the only explanation they had, they not sure why it was changed and it is under investigation, is that possibly the wrong pay code was entered. They have yet changed it back to $13.92 which is what I was offered. It is still at $10.19. Can They do this because if they had offered me $10.19, I would not have accepted the job.

Asked on December 3, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Do you have an employment contract or union agreement that guarantees your pay rate at $13.92 per hour? Is your not getting your previous wage the result of some form of legally actionable discrimination? If not, then as an "at will" worker your company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. This includes how much to pay an employee. At this point you can hope the reduction is just an error that will be recified. If not, then you can either accept your lower rate, continue to complain but risk termination, or quit.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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