Can I be forced to take a wage cut?

My employer has told me that they can no longer afford my salary and would like me to take a permanent 20% pay cut. I am the only one in the organization that has been asked to take this cut. Can they ask me to do this? Do I have any recourse other than quitting?

1 answer  |  asked Feb 23, 2005 6:00 PM [EST]  |  applies to Pennsylvania

Answers (1)

Christopher Ezold
Generally, your employer can cut your wages.

Before I respond to your inquiry, I must state that we have not spoken, I have not reviewed the relevant documents and facts, and I do not represent you. Therefore, my discussion below is not a legal opinion, but is informational only. Finally, my discussion applies only to issues to which Pennsylvania or Federal law apply, unless otherwise specified.

That being said, unless you have a contract specifying your wages, you are an employee at will in Pennsylvania. That means that your employer can reduce your wages, discipline your or fire you at any time for any reason or for no reason. Your employer cannot cut your wages after you have done the work, however; you must be informed at the beginning of the pay period or job that your wages are being cut. Otherwise, you have no recourse.

However, you indicated that you are the only person being asked to take a wage cut. If you are being singled out for this treatment because of your gender, race, age, disability, religion or other protected characteristic, then you have recourse. An employer may not alter your wages based on discriminatory motivations. However, based on the information in your question, I cannot determine whether you have a discrimination claim.

If you would like to discuss this matter further, please feel free to contact me at the below address(es) or number.

/Christopher E. Ezold/
Nancy O'Mara Ezold, P.C.
401 City Line Avenue,
Suite 904
Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004
(610) 660-5585

posted by Christopher Ezold  |  Feb 24, 2005 07:45 AM [EST]

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