Employers have the legal authority to decrease the amount of hourly pay for any employee as long as the employee is paid at least minimum wage, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. Employers are given a lot of leeway under labor laws to change specific wages during employment. In addition to pay, employers can legally reduce the number of hours worked.
Individual states can also have similar wage rules in place. For example, the North Carolina Wage and Hour Act specifically states that employers must notify employees in writing at least 24 hours before a wage change is to take effect, according to the North Carolina Department of Labor. The law also states that employers are not allowed to reduce wages and benefits retroactively. Reductions can only be applied to future wages. However, under North Carolina rules, employers can take away all future wage benefits when notification is given.
An employee that disagrees with the wage reduction has no legal recourse to prevent the cut in pay, according to CBS News. An employee in this situation may not be seen as a valuable asset by the employer. The employee can either stay on the job and accept the lower wages or seek alternative employment.