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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 11466
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I am an Exempt Employee in California. My wages have been

Customer Question

I am an Exempt Employee in California. My wages have been reduced by 10% for the last 24 months, so the company can reduce costs. The owner indicated he would need to terminate another Exempt employee to consider returning my full salary. I have 12 years of service, and 58 years old..
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

Hello and welcome. My name is ***** ***** it will be my pleasure to assist you. What precisely is your question regarding this situation?

Customer: replied 3 months ago.
I believe I am being discriminated against because of my age and salary. Should I discuss my situation with the labor board.
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

Thank you.

The general rule is that employers are free to change an employee's compensation at any time. The terms of compensation need not be fair, provided they comply with the laws governing minimum wage and overtime, and provided that the employer is not motivated by a legally protected trait such as race or age in setting the terms.

It is actually not illegal for an employer to cut an employee's salary because they believe the employee makes too much or as a means of reducing costs. Companies do this all the time and it is unfair but perfectly within the bounds of the law. What would be illegal is if you could prove that your pay was being reduced BECAUSE of how old you are. However, candidly, the facts of your post do not indicate this is the case. In fact, in your post you state that the reason for the paycut was so that the company can reduce cost. Thus, it would appear their motive is financial and not related to age. You also do not state any specific facts to suggest that your employer has an age bias (i.e. they are not making derogatory comments about how old you are or paying younger less qualified employees more than you).

Certainly if you believe you can prove that you would be getting paid more if you were younger you can file a complaint with the Department of Fair Employment & Housing. That's the agency in CA that handles age discrimination complaints. However, if you do not believe you can actually prove that age is your employer's motivation, you would not typically have any recourse based on the facts you have described.

I hope that you find this information helpful and am genuinely sorry if it is not what you were hoping to hear. Please do not hesitate to let me know if you have any questions or concerns regarding the above and I will be more than happy to assist you further.

If you do not require any further assistance, please be so kind as to provide a positive rating of my service so that I may receive credit for assisting you. Very best wishes moving forward.