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  • Pay reduced Oregon

    I've been at my job a few months & am still in the "probationary period" with them. They told me about a month ago that I meet my job description great but was not doing enough "specialty" jobs for them to want to pay me what I make (& I have a signed document stating my wage & hours). So I've been doing only the specialty jobs ever since they said that & delegating the "lesser work" to others. However, today I was told I "took too long" on my projects (they have "instant" expectations & my quality is not a problem & I'm pretty efficient), so I was told my pay is going to be cut a very large amount starting tomorrow (I don't work again until Tuesday). My job title didn't change & I didn't sign anything today either.

    My question is, are they allowed to just pay me less because I "don't work fast enough"? Also, they are still going to give me the specialty projects to do anyways, on top of the "lesser work"... plus I get paid a lot less to do everything.

  • #2
    As long as the new rate meets federal an state minimum wage requirements a company is allowed to lower your hourly rate.

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    • #3
      Oregon-
      Notice of Wage Reduction

      Oregon does not have any laws addressing when or how an employer may reduce an
      employees wages or whether an employer must provide employees notice prior to
      instituting a wage reduction. However, a wage reduction can only be applied to hours worked after the change and cannot be applied to hours already worked.

      Oregon's min. wage is $8.80/hr. - higher than federal which is $7.25/hr.

      You said you have a signed document re wages & hours. You can take the document to a contract or employment attorney for review but it is doubtful that the document would rise to the level of a binding employment contract.

      The answer to your actual question: "My question is, are they allowed to just pay me less because I "don't work fast enough"?" is yes unless you have a binding employment contract to the contrary.

      PS- I might mention when an employee has a binding employment contract re wages (doubtful you do), it also means they don't have to ever increase your wages.
      Last edited by Betty3; 09-01-2012, 08:14 AM. Reason: add PS
      Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

      Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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      • #4
        Re:

        Thank you for your responses!

        On my hire date, I received an offer letter from the company stating my starting wage, my schedule, & the X number of months "introductory period" & that either of us can end my employment relationship during that introductory period.

        I didn't sign anything agreeing to the wage reduction on Friday & basically was told it was going to happen on Oct 1 (but they meant to say Sept, which I found out in the last like 30 seconds of our talk). So on Tuesday, am I going to have to be re-hired?

        Also, if I took the lower wage, can I file for partial unemployment & have a good chance of getting it?
        ~OR~ If I don't accept the lower wage, is that quitting? Or getting fired? Because I am not quitting the terms of the original offer letter. They are the ones changing the terms, so wouldn't they be the ones ending the employment terms as stated in the offer letter?

        Sorry, I'm still trying to make sense of this...

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        • #5
          Offer letters are rarely if ever contracts. Neither Oregon or Federal law requires that you sign anything agreeing to a wage reduction - Oregon law requires only that you have prior notification, and Federal law only cares if minimum wage and overtime laws are followed. So no, you do not have to be rehired. They may legally change the terms of your employment at will as long as you receive prior notice of a wage reduction. Which you did.

          You do not have the option of accepting or not accepting the wage reduction. You either work at the reduced wage or you don't work. There is no means by which you can force them to pay the higher rate unless you can somehow prove that the offer letter is a contract, and you have about a .0001 percent chance of that. The only way to reject the lower rate is not to work it. You may or may not get partial unemployment if you work at the lower rate. You may or may not get unemployment if you refuse the lower rate by not working. Unemployment generally pays only a fraction of what you've been earning, so you need to figure out, even if you are approved for benefits, whether or not you will be better or worse off.

          http://findit.emp.state.or.us/ocs/estimator/
          The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.

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          • #6
            If the signed document you have re wages & hrs. is only an offer letter, it is very, very doubtful that would rise to the level of a binding employment contract.

            The state makes the decision whether you receive/qualify for UI benefits or not.
            Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around. Leo Buscaglia

            Live in peace with animals. Animals bring love to our hearts and warmth to our souls.

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