Is it legal for my employer to reduce my salary based on in-office hours but not responsibilities?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal for my employer to reduce my salary based on in-office hours but not responsibilities?

I’m classified as an exempt/salaried office manager. Small office of 2 owners and 3 other employees, who report to me. However, I have to consult the owners for any business decisions, including the final word on hiring and firing. All tools needed to complete the work are accessible online, so we have the ability to work from home but the owners want everyone to work in the office. When the office is closed, any after-hour calls are forwarded to my phone and I receive a $25/mo stipend for my personal phone bill. In addition, it’s my responsibility to monitor email after-hours for emergencies. For the first 4 years of employment, I worked in the office 40 hours/week. Due to a family situation, I received permission months ago to reduce my time in the office to 30 hours/week. I now come in 1 hour later and leave 1 hour earlier each day. The owners reduced my salary based on the 10 hour/week difference. However, my responsibilities have not changed and I’m expected to work from home to ensure my work is done, in addition to answering any after-hour calls and

monitoring emails. Basically, I’m on call 24/7 but because I’m not sitting at my desk inside the office, the owners reduced my salary. Is this legal?

Asked on June 18, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Yes, it is legal if you do not have a written employment contract guarantying or locking in your salary. When there is no contract, you are an "employee at will" and an employer may reduce an employee at will's salary at any time for any reason, such as for being allowed to work partly at home. They could even have reduced your salary if nothing at all changed except for the fact that they wanted to pay you less.

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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