Twin Falls, ID asked in Employment Law for District of Columbia

Q: can my boss legally give me a pay cut without notifying me first?

my boss has told me a lot of different things since I started this job, but he's continuously harassed me and now I was looking over my pay stub and realized that my pay has gone down. so legally was my boss able to give me a pay cut with any notification?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Steve Hoffman
Steve Hoffman
  • Washington, DC
  • Licensed in District of Columbia

A: Really an employment law question here, and a popular one!

Salary and other work condition stability may be protected if you were hired under conditions-certain contract, or depending on employer's policies or related laws that may cover its government contracts that provide the money to cover your services, for example. In these cases, you may be protected against changes in employment conditions without certain process and/or justifications.

However typically employment is "at will" so that the relationship can be terminated (by employer or employee) without advanced notice or reason given. But it is unusual to see such a slight decrease in pay without a change in role, as you appear to describe. Because paychecks should itemize all deductions, you should review a paycheck before and after and/or ask your payroll team.

Harassment is typically a separate legal domain, for which you need to provide more details the explain the harassment cause (ther are many prohibited bases) and harassment manner and frequency (for example, sexual harassment of certain kinds or after clear "No"). why you believe thast you are being harassed unless you think that the pay change is retaliatory.

If the harassment is prohibited, and it caused a pay decrease, this could raise the issue of retaliation. Employers seek smooth sailing for their businesses, I have found in most of my work assisting companies. So, I know that they typically respond well to Clarification Letters from an attorney, once you have more facts. Research additional details, then reach out to an attorney for this letter.

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