CA Labor Law: Salary to hourly demotion
July 9, 2009 1:16 PM   Subscribe

CA Labor Law: A friend has been demoted from salaried to hourly after giving notice. Is this illegal? He thinks there may have been a law passed a few years ago banning a salary to hourly demotion. True?

My friend was a kitchen manager with no hiring/firing power (in California); he gave notice last month and planned to leave at the beginning of August. Now with about a month to go, he has been demoted to his former position of Line Cook and his pay has decreased and gone from salaried to hourly. There has been no complaint against work.

The person taking over his kitchen manager job has simultaneously been upgraded to salaried and is in training for the new position. His boss essentially just did a switch-a-roo between the two workers.

My friend thinks this may be illegal in CA (possibly a new-ish law). If it is illegal, is there a .gov website that clearly states the law?
posted by jenmakes to Work & Money (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Do it yourself search here. But you know who would do a really good job answering this question? A California labor lawyer.
posted by Happydaz at 1:29 PM on July 9, 2009 [2 favorites]

If he can afford to do so, sounds like he might as well just quit effective immediately. Since his employer won't treat him with a modicum of respect, he really has no moral obligation to stick around through August.
posted by zachlipton at 1:40 PM on July 9, 2009

Before you up EDD in california. He was given a demotion involuntarily and he may be able to recoup some of his salary through them.

Best case scenario, your friend gets his old salary back (backpay)...or they put him back to his original position.

Worst case scenario, nothing changes...but he gives his employers a hell of a lot of paperwork to do for the EDD.

Good luck.
posted by hal_c_on at 1:48 PM on July 9, 2009

Tell him to talk to an employment lawyer. Many give free initial consultations. I am unaware of any .gov site that addresses this particular issue, but demotions are usually just as legal as terminations in an at-will position.
posted by jabberjaw at 1:49 PM on July 9, 2009

Here's a list of things employers can't retailiate for. Giving notice doesn't appear to be one of them.

Your friend probably thought he was doing his employer a favor by giving lots of notice. The employer is repaying that by working in their own best interest, giving the salary and the position to the person who will do the job in the future -- the person who is sticking around.
posted by sageleaf at 1:56 PM on July 9, 2009

Being moved from salary to hourly doesn't matter a whit. That's not a demotion, merely a change in the manner in which he's paid. The decrease in pay, though, may be an issue. Was he informed of this change in pay before it occurred? It's illegal to decrease an employee's pay retroactively. Otherwise, there's nothing illegal about this, based on what you've told us.

And for everyone boo-hooing for the employee: I certainly feel for him - it's always shitty to get demoted and to have your pay decreased. But if he's not loyal to the company, why should they be loyal to him? At-will employment works both ways, and he's the one who decided to terminate the employment relationship, not the company. Your friend shouldn't take this personally. It's business.
posted by pecanpies at 3:37 PM on July 9, 2009

Every state has a Labor Department, and an Attorney General, and there's probably a listing for Legal Aid in the phone book. One or the other should be able to answer.
posted by theora55 at 4:32 PM on July 9, 2009

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