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Does the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) Prohibit the Reduction of Wages?

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The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) provides legal protections to workers and ensures they are properly paid and treated fairly by employers. The law establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, and other regulations regarding wages and hours.

If your employer has recently reduced your wages, you may be unsure about whether or not this is legal under the regulations in place by the FLSA. The answer depends on the structure of your job, and if your employer is following other legal regulations.

Reasons for Reducing an Employee’s Wages

In general, reducing wages is not explicitly prohibited by the FLSA. For whatever reason, an employer can choose to reduce the pay of their workers. In many cases, an employer would legally be in the right to do this.

The employer must notify the worker about the pay cut. Generally, the worker will be given a reason why their wages have been reduced when they are notified of a pay cut. Their reasons may include reducing costs, poor performance, decreasing business, and more. However, employers do not necessarily need a reason to cut pay if a worker is considered an at-will employee. Discriminatory reasons are one of the few reasons that an employer cannot have for reducing an employee’s pay, e.g. if they cut their wages based on the worker’s race, sex, religion, age, gender identity, or sexual orientation.

Minimum Wage Laws Must be Met

The only time that a wage reduction may be prohibited under the Fair Labor Standards Act is if an employee’s wages are reduced to an amount that is less than minimum wage. Employers generally have the right to pay their workers any rate they would like, as long as minimum wage laws are followed.

There are some employees who are exempt from minimum wage protections. Tipped employees, for example, can be paid less than minimum wage as long as their tips make up the difference. It would be possible for an employer to reduce their worker’s wages to an amount that is less than minimum wage if they work in one of these exempt roles.

The lawyers of Donati Law, PLLC are dedicated to protecting the rights of workers. We can help you understand if an action was an FLSA violation, and will fight for you if this is the case. Contact us today to speak about your wage and hour violation case.

For a free consultation with our attorneys, complete our contact form or call (901) 209-5500.

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