Is it legal to lower an employee’s pay an hour?

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Is it legal to lower an employee’s pay an hour?

I was making $8.25 an hour but then was informed that my pay per hour was being cut back to minimum wage. I have had friends tell me that was illegal but I want to be sure.No, your employer cannot retroactively reduce your pay.

Asked on September 3, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Mississippi

Answers:

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

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You are entitled to your previous pay rate for work already performed but you are not entitled to if for current or future work - as long as minimum wage laws are being complied with. That is unless you have an employment contract or union agreement that prohibits such action, the pay cut in some way violates company policy, or the decrease is a result of some form of actionable discrimination. Absent any of the foregoing your employer was well within its legal rights. 

This is because most employment relationships are "at will". Basically, this means is that an employer can hire or fire someone for any reason or no reason at all, as well has increase/decrease salary/hours, promote/demote, and generally impose requirements as it sees fit (with or with out notice).  In turn, an employee can choose to continue to work for an employer or not. 


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