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Samuel II
Samuel II, Attorney at Law
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 27009
Experience:  More than 20 years of experience practicing law.
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According to guidelines established by the overall church

Customer Question

According to guidelines established by the overall church headquarters I have been sorely underpaid for the six years I have been in the position of "Congregational Administrator" at the church where I work. Now, for no justifiable reason, I have been given a demotion (though no one is calling it that) - it is a draft of a revised Position Description, in effect a demotion as the title is a lesser one ("Office Administrator) and several significant responsibilities are removed in it. (The pay remains the same thus far and it is still below the guidelines for this title.) I am in Virginia. I am over 65. I have a BS in Accounting and years of experience. I have performed at an excellent level the entire six years. Might I have a case for wrongful demotion? Discrimination? due to my age. Thank you.
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Samuel II replied 9 months ago.

Hello Mary

This is Samuel and I will discuss this and provide you information in this regard.

Can you tell me please:

1 - Are you under an employment contract - that is a written agreement with a start date and an end date with a specified salary for that timeframe?

2 - Are you the only one in the company at age 40 plus?

3 - Is someone younger than you taking your old position?

Expert:  Samuel II replied 9 months ago.

4 - Have they provided any reason at all for your demotion? And to be clear your pay remains the same?

Customer: replied 9 months ago.
1. No. Regular employees have an annual (supposedly) form signed by board an employee showing compensation Year is fiscal Jul - June
2. No
3. Duties taken away are being parsed out to members/volunteers. (All younger, I believe.)
4. No reason whatsoever and they are not referring to it as a demotion. Pay has not changed. Budget for next FY comes up in a month or two.
Expert:  Samuel II replied 9 months ago.

Ok. Thank you.

Unfortunately, you are an "at will" employee. If you can prove that the change is because you are over the age of 40, then you can consider filing a complaint for age discrimination with the EEOC. However, because the pay is the same and only the title is changing I suggest you might not have a case. Without solid evidence of the demotion solely based on your age, then I suggest the only way you might have a case is if they are asking you to perform duties that are considered to be illegal to which you have refused and so they are demoting you.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 9 months ago.

You can review this LINK for recent Case Law from VA

Of course, you should always consider consulting with a local attorney who may be able to fully review the situation for you and obtain more information than I can garner via this venue.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 9 months ago.

While that case deals with a wrongful termination and not a demotion, it still is the case law established on this subject matter.

Expert:  Samuel II replied 9 months ago.

If you have more questions or need clarification you can post here and I will respond. Otherwise, a positive rating will ensure I get credit for my time and information provided.

I wish it was better news for you. But as I stated, if you consult with a local attorney they may be able to find something more that I cannot see at this time, based on your facts.