What to do if my employer wants me to relocate 45 minutes away and take a huge pay cut or move to the next state and keep my pay the same?

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What to do if my employer wants me to relocate 45 minutes away and take a huge pay cut or move to the next state and keep my pay the same?

Can I be fired for refusing? If so, can I collect unemployment?

Asked on November 27, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Mississippi

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Yes, you can be fired for refusing, since the landlord has the right to change an employee's location, pay, or also job title and responsibilites, at will--i.e. at any time, for any reason. If you do refuse, it could possibly result in you not being eligible for unemployment, or at least having the employer contest it (delaying it and putting receiving it in doubt), since the employer may consider that what happened is either--

1) You quit: that is, your pay was reduced, which the employer has the right to do, and you quit rather than accept it; or

2) You were insubordinate when told of the pay reduction and were fired for cause.

The problem for you is, since the employer has the right to transfer or reduce your pay, they can do without waiting for your agreement; so how you respond to it could, as discussed above, be taken as resignation or insubordination. It is not definite that they employer would win: large enough pay cuts or a far enough relocation can be considered to be "constructive"--or effective--termination, in the sense that the employer has made you job so untenable that it has effectively fired you. However, as stated, even if you were to prevail on that basis, at the least it will delay receiving unemployment--and there is always the chance you will lose.

The best thing to do may be to accept one of the options while looking for alternate employment.


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