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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 3 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.