Can an employer reduce your wages after you give notice impacting your vacation payout?

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Can an employer reduce your wages after you give notice impacting your vacation payout?

I gave two weeks notice on March 30th. Then my employer let me go early. However, they adjusted my pay down by 25,000 per year between the time I gave notice and the time they let me go. I have 120 hours of unused vacation that is now being calculated at the lower rate. My final pay for the 120 hours of accrued vacation is now almost 2,000 less. Can they do this? If not, what is my recourse.

Asked on April 2, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, in an "at will" work arrangement, an employer can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. This includes if and when to reduce an employee's wage. That is so long as there exists no employment contract or union agreement to the contrary. Also, an employee's treatment must not be due to some form of legally actionable discrimination. So while unprofessional, your employer's action is permissable under the law.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Yes, they can do this: an employer can reduce your pay at any time, for any reason, unless you have an employment contract to the contrary, preventing the reduction. You gave two weeks notice, which is custom, but is not required--you could have quit on the spot, in which case they could  not have done this. However, as morally wrong as what they did is, it is legal, since you gave them two weeks during which they could reduce your pay.


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