What to do if my boss handed me a contract yesterday that would cut my base pay by a third and then told me if I don’t sign it today I’m fired?

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What to do if my boss handed me a contract yesterday that would cut my base pay by a third and then told me if I don’t sign it today I’m fired?

Can he do that? Can I at least stall him for a while to see if I can find a new job before I sign it?

Asked on November 28, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Your employer can cut your pay at anytime. The employer could simply do it by fiat, without your agreement; or it could do it this way, by requiring you to sign a contract acknowleding the pay cut and firing you if you don't sign. So you can try to stall, but your boss could choose to fire you.

One important exception to the above: if you already had an employment contract which set or guaranteed your pay, your employer may not cut your pay in violation of that contract, even by threatening to fire you if you don't sign a new contract. If you have an existing employment contract, its terms are enforceable, including in court if necessary.


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