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In Texas can an employer reduce salary when there is a written/verbal agreement?

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  • In Texas can an employer reduce salary when there is a written/verbal agreement?

    My husband has a written agreement with his employer outlining yearly wage and car allowance. The problem is the employer never signed. However, we believe this is a valid agreement as the employer did initiate the terms of the agreement by paying the indicated salary and car allowance per the contract. Unfortunately, 5 months into the agreement, the employer decides to randomly reduce my husband's salary and also took away the car allowance without giving a reason. Basically said if you want to keep your job you will agree.

    My questions are 1) could this contract hold up in court as a valid agreement either written or verbal? If it is a valid agreement, can the employer just randomly reduce the salary? If it is illegal for the employer, would he have to provide back pay?

    Your help is much appreciated!

  • #2

    This would have to be reviewed from the perspective of a contract between two parties, rather than an employment law issue. An employer can reduce the pay of an employee unless there is a valid agreement not to do so. Whether that offer is a valid agreement depends upon the language contained in the offer.
    Lillian Connell

    Forum Moderator


    • #3
      Texas??? good luck!

      here is something I found out about doing business with Texans:
      It is the custom that if you engage in any form of "friendship" type activity, you cannot make wage-type demands. If your husband has done any socializing at all with the "boss" then he is likely to be accused of taking advantage of "friendship" if he demands contract terms.

      This custom seems to be related to a history as a slave society. I saw it in action when I sued for unpaid wages in small claims and the defendant's lawyer won, with exactly this argument: I had accepted a "sob story" excuse for a delay in payment, so therefore I was acting as a friend instead of an employee, and what friend demands money for having helped a friend in need?

      Seriously! The jury bought this argument! The attorney cited some obscure Texas case law in making this argument.

      Since that time I had two other cases of doing business with Texans in which I accepted "in kind" payments, only to have them characterize these as "gifts to a friend" and used as excuses to deny my right to bill for my services. They definitely relied on local custom and I could see this in how other Texans accepted this practice.

      I know that I am citing business relations more than direct "labor law" here, but since Texas has no labor standards to speak of (again, look to the influence of slavery in the historical development of Texas labor concepts) then often times working for an individual instead of a big company is treated more like a business exchange than real labor, anyway.


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