How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Lucy, Esq. Your Own Question
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: California Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 30383
Experience:  Lawyer
26798026
Type Your California Employment Law Question Here...
Lucy, Esq. is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I have been on a payroll salary for the last 2 years of

Customer Question

Hello,
JA: Hello. How can I help?
Customer: I have been on a payroll salary for the last 2 years of $86,000. This morning, my employer advised me they will be taking me off payroll and decreasing my salary staring today...
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: CA
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: In terms of what?
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Filed or reported?
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: California Employment Law
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
I've been working for the company for over 7 years. Last two years i have been put onto payroll reflecting salary of $86,000. This morning, I got an email saying I will be taken off payroll due to workers compensation insurance disallowing officers of company to be excluded on calculations. Therefore my salary must be modified and my payment categorized under management fee moving forward. This thus drops my salary in total from $86000 to $78000. Please advise
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Our bookkeepers response is that the company is just taking me off of payroll and putting me on 1099
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today. I'm sorry to hear about your situation.

Unless you have a contract that only provides for termination for cause, your employment is at will. At will employment unfortunately means that either party can terminate the employment at any time, for any reason - or no reason at all. What they're essentially doing is firing you and offering to rehire you at the lower salary. That is legal, even though their reasoning for doing it is that they were caught illegally not providing worker's compensation insurance). The options here are to accept the reduced salary and continue working there or reject the change and seek other employment.

They cannot retroactively decrease your salary or ask you to repay any amounts they've already given you. That would be illegal.

If you have any questions or concerns about my response, please reply WITHOUT RATING. It's important that you are 100% satisfied with my courtesy and professionalism. Otherwise, please rate my service positively so I am paid for the time I spend answering questions. If you are on a mobile device, you may need to scroll to the right. There is no charge for follow-up questions. Thank you.

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
Hello Lucy. Your response is very generic and does not make sense. I'm an officer of the company which means I hold a %. Due to a change in workers Comp this year, officers are no longer allowed to be deducted. Does this give the right for my employer to not give me notice of taking me off payroll and providing no notice of change in my salary? In addition they are trying to change me from being an employee to an independent contractor which is illegal given that I meet employee-requirements
Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

Being an officer doesn't mean your employment isn't at will, unless you have a contract. You didn't mention a contract, so I can't assume you have one. Generic at-will employment applies to most employees. It IS legal for them to cut your salary because they're giving you notice. They're telling you now. The law doesn't require any more than that.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

I apologize for not seeing the independent contractor comment. They cannot randomly change you. If you meet the requirements for an employee, you can report them to the IRS.

https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/fss8.pdf

The IRS can ensure you're classified properly and make them take out taxes to cover you, but that unfortunately won't increase your salary. You still have to decide if you're willing to work there for the lesser amount. Improperly classifying an employee doesn't give rise to a private cause of action.

Expert:  Lucy, Esq. replied 2 months ago.

Do you have any other questions about this?