Can an employer decrease your pay without notice for no reason?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can an employer decrease your pay without notice for no reason?

I worked for a nursing home that suddenly decreased my salary from $35 to $32.50. Am I protected by labor department ?

Asked on August 1, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York


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

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

Do you have a union/collective bargaining agreement or employment contract that prohibits this action? Is your treatment due to some form of legally actionable discrimination? If not, then you are an "at will" employee. This means that your employer can set the terms and conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. This includes when to decrease your pay and why. The fact is that a salary reduction can be made for any reason or no reason at all, with or without notice. That all having been said, your wages can only be decreased for hours that you have not yet worked; it cannot be for time that you have already put in.

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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