Salary reduction

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Salary reduction

I am an Executive Assistant who has been employed by a radio group for the past 20 years. Last year, the company I worked for was sold. During the transition many people were let go. My previous employer set forth a severance agreement that stated any remaining employee who was terminated or subject to a material reduction in salary during the first year after the sale, would be eligible for severance. The severance package stated 2 weeks salary for every year of service. The anniversary date of the sale was the first of this month. Last week, my new boss told me that the company would be cutting my salary by $18,000 a year because it wasn’t in line with what they pay others in my same position. I am considered a lynchpin employee and I am consistently introduced as she runs this whole place. My job duties are endless and I am involved with every department. I work long days and I am depended on by everybody who works there. I will celebrate my 60th birthday in 4 months and this will certainly change my retirement plans. Am I being discriminated against by being labeled or judged by a title when I actually do so much more than my title implies?

Asked on November 19, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Do you have a written employment contract for a set period of time (e.g. a one-year, two-year, five-year, etc.) contract which has not expired and which guarantees your salary? If you do, they cannot reduce your pay in violation of the contract's terms, and if they do, you could file a lawsuit for "breach of contract" to enforce its terms and get the money coming to you.
Unfortunately, if you don't have a contract, you are an "employee at will" and your employer may change or reduce your pay at will, for any reason whatsoever, including that they undervalue what you do or want to make your salary consistent with others who share the same or similar title (regardles of actual responsibilities). An employee at will has no right to a given salary or pay, and the employer may change it despite your longevity, your contributions, or the effect on you.

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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