Is it illegal to demote cut pay, hours and title due to looking for a new job?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it illegal to demote cut pay, hours and title due to looking for a new job?

I am currently seeking a job offering health benefits. My current job I was a top
level manager. New Link Destination
day I was demoted to a regular crew, being offered half the
hours and a significant pay cut. Recently, another manager openly looked for
other employment and was able to keep her title and pay. Is there anything I can

Asked on January 6, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Illinois


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Absent an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary, an employer can demote an employee, cut their pay and/or change their job title due to their looking for a new job. This is known as "at will" employment. The foregoing holds true unless such action is based on some form of legally actionable action discrimination or retaliation. This means that a worker must not receive less favorable treatment than other workers due to their inclusion in a legally "protected class" (i.e. based on their race, religion, nationality, age (over 40), disability or the like). Otherwise, not all employees need be treated the same or even fairly.

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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