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Can your employer cut your pay if you decide to quit?

On Behalf of | Mar 7, 2023 | EMPLOYMENT LAW (EMPLOYEE) - Wage & Hour Laws

You know that your employer does not want you to leave your job, but perhaps you’ve been unhappy there for some time. Or maybe you found another job where you’ll be paid more money to do essentially the same thing. You go to your boss and put in your two weeks’ notice.

To your surprise, they tell you that they’re going to cut your pay. Maybe you were making $25 an hour before, but they tell you that you’re just going to make the minimum wage from here on out. They’re clearly retaliating against you because they don’t want you to quit. Are they legally allowed to do that?

Changes can only apply to future wages

Your employer can change your rate of pay if they would like, but they can only do so for money that you will earn in the future. In this way, you get to decide if you want to work any hours at the new rate. If you decide not to, then you could quit immediately, without providing the two weeks’ notice.

What an employer cannot do is pay you less money for hours that you have already worked. They cannot dock your pay simply because they are frustrated with you or they want to retaliate. That change in pay can only apply to hours that you have not yet worked because this gives you the option to decide if you will accept it or not. Your employer can never force you to accept a rate of pay that is below what you want.

If you do find yourself facing some significant questions or even believing that you may be a victim of wage theft, you need to know about your legal options. This is something that often does happen to workers, violating their rights, but there are steps that you can take if it happens to you.