Can an employer just demote and retract health insurance without notice?

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Can an employer just demote and retract health insurance without notice?

I have worked at a place for over 20 years with many owners in and out. As of recently, a new owner came in and decided to demote me to a supervisor, However, he let me keep the insurance the company pays for and knocked me down to hourly rather than salary, which I had been. The other day, he decided he didn’t like something and told somebody to tell me he was knocking me down $9 more and taking my insurance. Is this allowed?

Asked on January 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

As a general matter, unfortunately, yes, it is allowed: employers can decide how to compensate employees, what benefits to provide them, whether to demote them, etc.--just as they can decide whether to fire an employee entirely. Having worked there for 20 years provides no legal protection.

The employer could do not this only if--

1)  You have an employment contract or union agreement protecting your title, job, salary, and/or benefits;

2) The employer is discriminating against you on the basis of a protected category, such as race, sex, religion, disability, or age over 40--this does not mean the employer cannot take negative action against you if you are over 40, for example, only that he cannot do this simply because you are 40, but needs some other valid (not just a pretext) reason; or

3) You are being retaliated against for having brought some protected claim or complaint (such as for overtime or that you were being discriminated against).


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