Is a 28% pay cut (or you can quit) grounds for constructive discharge?

Should I call an employment attorney? My boss informed me I may no longer have the position I occupy with no reference to any performance issues; he just "doesn't want" someone in the job. The job will remain vacant; he was clear I'm not being laid off. My choices are to take a lower-status role reporting to this same boss at 28% pay cut or interview with another manager for same pay cut and lower status. I met with the other manager who confirmed that in either event the lower pay is inevitable. No data is offered to support the basis for the pay cut, "It's just what we decided." I asked if I would be laid off if I did not accept either lower-paying position and was told I would have to resign.

1 answer  |  asked Nov 12, 2011 03:41 AM [EST]  |  applies to New York

Answers (1)

Patricia Pastor
Your employer is well within his rights in offering you the option of a lower-paying position in lieu of discharge. New York is an "at-will" employment state. This means that your employer may discharge you from your position for any reason or no reason at all. The only exception is that you cannot be discharged for an unlawful reason. An unlawful reason would include a discharge based on your race, age, sex, disability or any other category protected by federal or state law. There are also laws prohibiting termination of an employee in retaliation for that employee's report of an employer's unlawful or discriminatory activity. Based on the information you provided above, your employer is eliminating your position for economic reasons. This is a lawful basis for your discharge.

posted by Patricia Pastor  |  Nov 12, 2011 1:37 PM [EST]

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