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Allen M., Esq.
Allen M., Esq., Employment Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 18790
Experience:  Employment/Labor Law Litigation
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I have worked 34 years same Company. In Janurary the Company

Customer Question

I have worked 34 years for the same Company. In Janurary the Company cut my pay 12,000 dollars a year without notice. Last Friday the Company cut my pay again by 18,000 dollars again without notice. The total cut would be 30,000 dollars a year. If I understand TN labor law correctly the Company because they did not notify me should owe me back pay from the first of the year until now. Is this correct?
Submitted: 4 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Thank you for trusting your question to JA today. I am a licensed attorney with over a decade of law practice and over 20 years of experience in the legal field. I’m happy to be of assistance.

I think you may be misinterpreting the law there.

If I work this week thinking I am making $10 an hour, my employer can't pay me $9 an hour for this week. I should have the ability to decide if I want to work for the lower rate. However, the day I get a paycheck for only $9 an hour, I am on notice from that moment forward that that is what they are willing to pay.

So, on these facts, the most your employer would have to payback would be any pay period where you worked before finding out about the lower rate. There is nothing requiring an official, specific type of notice.

In January, when your pay was cut, you could only truly sue for the pay period that you worked before becoming aware that they were cutting your pay. The fact that you are asking this question indicates that you become aware of the cut, which legally equates to sufficient notice.

Last week, when they cut your pay again, if you worked the pay period before expecting a certain rate of pay for it, and this change effected that pay period, then you'd have that as an argument for back pay too.

So, at most, you're talking about back pay for just two pay periods, if you worked that pay period expecting one rate and got paid another.

If you have any further questions, please let me know. I invite follow up questions, so use REPLY for those. If you have no further questions then good luck going forward and please do not forget to rate my service with a top-three rating so that I receive credit for working with you today. Also, feel free to request me in the future, if you have questions concerning a different matter.

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I was shorted 2,500 dollars in Janurary and I was shorted 1,500 dollars last week. They owe me 4,000 dollars if I understand your response
Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I have also suffered mental insecurity for the last 9 years because the company has moved me from basically the top position now all the way to the bottom
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Yes, I would agree with that. The rule on notice isn't very strong. It takes very little to give notice. Like I said, the day you got the check with the lower rate that counted as "notice" for any future work.

However, work that you had already done, you were expecting a certain rate.

You can file a complaint with a local attorney based on a breach of contract or a common wage claim.

Mental insecurity is not a basis for any sort of legal claim. Unless you had a contract guaranteeing you a certain rate of pay and position, your status can be altered at any time with or without cause. That is called 'at will' employment and is the predominant legal employment status in this country (about 99% of employees).

Customer: replied 4 months ago.
I had a verbal contract with the owner about my pay and position.
Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 4 months ago.

A verbal contract is "at will." It necessarily is "at will" because it didn't (and doesn't) contain the necessary terms and clauses that would state that your pay can't be altered without your consent, without cause or without warning. These terms have to be very, very specific and a court requires they be in writing before it can be considered a true employment contract.

You had an agreement of terms of "at will" employment, just like I do and, as a I said, about 99% of employees in this country. Only CEO's, CFO's and that sort of individual get guaranteed contracts....either that or negotiated collective bargaining agreements through a strong union.

Expert:  Allen M., Esq. replied 4 months ago.

Hello, I wanted to check in and make sure that there was not any additional information that you required after the response I previously provided to you. If you need further assistance, please use REPLY and ask me for any additional information you may need. If not, take care and have a great day.