Labor Laws Question FRAT California

TLDR: Got a job making 60K, have an offer letter, been working there since August, boss suddenly wants to demote me and pay me 48K. Is this even legal?

FRAT warning I'll try to keep this succinct.... I started a new job for a small environmental services contractor back in August. Theirs only 2 other employees along with the owner and his wife. Everything has been going fine, I've had no complaints from my boss and I get along with everyone. I am still learning the ropes so I a not outputting a ton of work just yet. Because we are contractors we must account for every hour we work on our time sheets every week. Each hour must be assigned to a particular project so we can bill the client, we use a third party time sheet software (Salesforce) so all my hours must be assigned to me by my boss, which I can then use to plug into my time sheet. On Wednesday my boss called me in and asked why I had been putting in so many "General Office" hours on my time sheet. If I put hours into general office I am not making money for the company as nobody is getting billed for that time. I explained to him I have not been getting enough work, and the projects I have been getting have been very small, just 6 or 8 hours each so their hasn't been enough work for me to fill a 40 hour week. It was a drawn out conversation with my boss and his wife, but basically he was trying to blame me for not being proactive enough and chasing him around to let him know I need more work, which I actually have done on a couple occasions. I was under the impression I was still new and still learning so it was OK that I took a little longer then anticipated to finish some projects. Anyways the meeting ended on a decent note, I didn't think we had a problem. I finished out my day and went home. Last night at 11:30 pm I get this long email with a letter attached telling me that going forward my boss wants to demote me, cut my pay by $12,000 a year and I have to follow several new rules like I'm not allowed to work from home anymore and I have to check in with my boss every morning and night. This all came out of nowhere for me, I havent had any negative interactions at all with my boss or anyone else at work. I thought I was doing a good job, and suddenly this happens. I am supposed to call him this morning at 8:30. So my question is can he change my pay like this? I have an offer letter signed by him that states I will be paid a salary of $60,000 a year with full benefits 401K etc. Now hes trying to go back on that and change me to $25.00 an hour which works out to $48,000 a year. Is this even legal?

If you're valuable, tell him you're walking.

If they NEED you, re-negotiate your raise to 70k

I kind of feel like he wants me to quit. I think he may have realized he offered me too much money to begin with and can't afford it. So this is his attempt to either pay me less or have me quit. I just don't know if this is even legal. Phone Post 3.0

It's way easier to find another job while you still have one. Phone Post 3.0

First, it is legal. Second, as you are still learning, have another sit-down with him and sincerely ask how you can improve to be more inline with his expectations. Then follow through on his suggestions. This can only benefit you now and in the future at other positions. Third, while doing #2, keep your eyes open for opportunities at other companies.

Legal; yes. They want you to walk. Be very careful at work and start lookin for another job ASAP. Phone Post 3.0

Thanks for the info so far. I'm pretty surprised this is legal, seems crazy you can make an offer and pay someone one thing then turn around and pay them something else later. I'm definitely going to start looking elsewhere ASAP. Whole situation is super fucked up. Phone Post 3.0

An offer letter (unless other specified) will generally require the employer to start the person at a certain wage.  State labor laws may define how long the employer must maintain this wage.  I would look that up.

Couple things after re-reading your post:

1.  Apparently your boss was looking at what you were earning the company (billable hours) and what he was paying you.  After his conversation with you he did the math and determined that the ROI on your position and performance was not $60,000 a year.

2.  He has moved you from a salaried position to an hourly position.  Overtime now applies; determine what the guidelines are here.

3.  Have a conversation with him about #1 above.  How can you make the position worth what you were originally being paid?  Is it something that he sees as achievable? Can the TWO of you make a plan to get back to that rate of pay and get there together?

4.  I still say he wants you to walk; you need to figure out if it is because he doesn't want that position at his company any longer?  Is it because he isn't confident that this position will give value to his company?   Or if he doesn't want YOU at his company any longer.  Try to figure out through conversation with him which it is.

5.  I would still be watching my P's and Q's at this position and be ACTIVELY searching for another job.  For whatever reason, this company (boss) isn't a good fit for you.  If you can't change that you will either leave with another job already in place or you will leave with OUT another job in place................either way, IMO, you will be gone soon.

didn't read, but I believe in ca the solution is give more money to the illegals. Don't know how that applies to your issue, but that's how they do it

Don't know why you'd think this would or should be illegal. A job offer is not a binding contract.

CA is an at will employment state, he can technically fire you for any reason.

Samoa -


An offer letter (unless other specified) will generally require the employer to start the person at a certain wage.  State labor laws may define how long the employer must maintain this wage.  I would look that up.



Couple things after re-reading your post:



1.  Apparently your boss was looking at what you were earning the company (billable hours) and what he was paying you.  After his conversation with you he did the math and determined that the ROI on your position and performance was not $60,000 a year.



2.  He has moved you from a salaried position to an hourly position.  Overtime now applies; determine what the guidelines are here.



3.  Have a conversation with him about #1 above.  How can you make the position worth what you were originally being paid?  Is it something that he sees as achievable? Can the TWO of you make a plan to get back to that rate of pay and get there together?



4.  I still say he wants you to walk; you need to figure out if it is because he doesn't want that position at his company any longer?  Is it because he isn't confident that this position will give value to his company?   Or if he doesn't want YOU at his company any longer.  Try to figure out through conversation with him which it is.



5.  I would still be watching my P's and Q's at this position and be ACTIVELY searching for another job.  For whatever reason, this company (boss) isn't a good fit for you.  If you can't change that you will either leave with another job already in place or you will leave with OUT another job in place................either way, IMO, you will be gone soon.

Thanks for all this brother. Really appreciate it. I spoke to him this morning. Talked him back to my original pay rate, but instead if salaried I will be hourly from now on which is kind of better because I can get overtime like you said above. He's going to be managing me more closely from here on out which kind of sucks but I can deal with it. I still think theirs more to this behind the scenes but for now I'll take it and start looking elsewhere. Thanks again. Phone Post 3.0

BarkLikeADog - Don't know why you'd think this would or should be illegal. A job offer is not a binding contract.
Sure I understand that but I've been working there for two months at my rate of 60k already. Does it make sense that he can then go back on that and just offer me less money? Maybe it's not illegal but it's a shitty thing to do. What's to stop any employer from hiring you at one rate then making you take a lower one down the road? Phone Post 3.0

" What's to stop any employer from hiring you at one rate then making you take a lower one down the road?"

Me not agreeing to it?

I'm not familiar with CA labor law but in NY that is legal. As long as your employer notifies you of your new pay rate going forward (and doesn't try to pay you less than agreed upon for weeks you've already worked) there is no violation of law. I would imagine it's similar in CA. Phone Post

CaptainAmerica30 -
Samoa -


An offer letter (unless other specified) will generally require the employer to start the person at a certain wage.  State labor laws may define how long the employer must maintain this wage.  I would look that up.



Couple things after re-reading your post:



1.  Apparently your boss was looking at what you were earning the company (billable hours) and what he was paying you.  After his conversation with you he did the math and determined that the ROI on your position and performance was not $60,000 a year.



2.  He has moved you from a salaried position to an hourly position.  Overtime now applies; determine what the guidelines are here.



3.  Have a conversation with him about #1 above.  How can you make the position worth what you were originally being paid?  Is it something that he sees as achievable? Can the TWO of you make a plan to get back to that rate of pay and get there together?



4.  I still say he wants you to walk; you need to figure out if it is because he doesn't want that position at his company any longer?  Is it because he isn't confident that this position will give value to his company?   Or if he doesn't want YOU at his company any longer.  Try to figure out through conversation with him which it is.



5.  I would still be watching my P's and Q's at this position and be ACTIVELY searching for another job.  For whatever reason, this company (boss) isn't a good fit for you.  If you can't change that you will either leave with another job already in place or you will leave with OUT another job in place................either way, IMO, you will be gone soon.

Thanks for all this brother. Really appreciate it. I spoke to him this morning. Talked him back to my original pay rate, but instead if salaried I will be hourly from now on which is kind of better because I can get overtime like you said above. He's going to be managing me more closely from here on out which kind of sucks but I can deal with it. I still think theirs more to this behind the scenes but for now I'll take it and start looking elsewhere. Thanks again. Phone Post 3.0
You're welcome; I hope it all works out for you Phone Post 3.0