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Patrick, Esq.
Patrick, Esq., Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 12019
Experience:  Significant experience in all areas of employment law.
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I have a family member that was just given a revised job

Customer Question

I have a family member that was just given a revised job description with a potential reduction in pay. The employer failed to communicate new pay amount but is trying string family member to sign job description. What are their rights?
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Virginia
JA: Is the employment agreement "at will," union, full time or part time?
Customer: At will
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: No
Submitted: 3 months ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Patrick, Esq. replied 3 months ago.

Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My name is ***** ***** I will do everything I can to answer your question.

Unfortunately, an employee has rather limited rights in these situations. The reason is because absent an express agreement to the contrary, employment in the state of Virginia is "at will" absent an express agreement to the contrary. At will employment can be terminated or modified for any reason not amounting to discrimination on the basis of a legally protected trait (race, religion, gender, etc.) or retaliation for engaging in certain forms of legally protected conduct (filing a wage claim, taking FMLA leave, etc.). It doesn't matter whether the basis for termination or modification is fair, reasonable or even true.

So, an employer doesn't actually need to sign a change in job description in order for an employer to implement it. The one caveat is that an employer cannot reduce an employee's rate of pay without first notifying them of the change. "Consent" isn't required--it is presumed that the employee consents if they continue working knowing that they are being paid less. But an employer cannot retroactively cut an employee's pay such that they are deprived of the choice whether to work at the lower rate. Any reduction in pay can only be implemented on wages earned AFTER the employee is informed.

Therefore, to the extent your family member's pay is being reduced retroactively, that would be illegal and your family member would be entitled to his prior rate of pay up to when he was informed of the reduction. Beyond this, however, and he would not typically have any further rights or recourse beyond attempting to negotiate something better or searching for alternative employment on better terms somewhere else.

I hope that you find this information helpful. 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.

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