UnderCover Waitress: A Raise Goes Up, Not Down

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Raise Goes Up, Not Down

Ask the Waitress!
This arrived in my inbox:
I want to know if my employer can lower my pay from 2.25 to 2.13 without even telling us. We didnt find out until our next check.
 I want to know what is wrong with your employer.

An employer may not pay less than previously agreed upon for hours worked. That means an employer may not lower your pay and not tell you.

An employer may give you notice that pay is being lowered. If you agree to continue to work for him, then the new, lower pay rate goes into effect for hours worked after you were given notice, not before.

If you were not given notice, then this qualifies as wage theft. You may, if you would like, file a complaint with the Wage and Hour Division at your state's Department of Labor. Feel free to write, privately or in the comments section, if you need help finding the appropriate office to contact.


I'm not a lawyer and I don't give legal advice. I'm just a stupid waitress ranting about labor and restaurant industry.

Thanks for asking the waitress!


  1. That's pretty shady! I understand cutting hours or benefits because of the economy, but cutting wages like that is not okay. I would talk to a lawyer, maybe a free consultation. Many will do a 30 minute freebie just to tell you if you have a case or not. Then take it to small claims court, but I don't think the court cost is worth it. It'll end up costing more than the lost wages.

    I'd look for another job and highly discourage my friends and family from seeking employment with that place.

    1. I agree that small claims is a lot of time and effort, not to mention money. Granted, if you win you can recover costs from the defendant, but if you have better things to do with your time...

      Filing a complaint with the state's department of labor or attorney general re: wage theft is a cost-free way to get the employer's hand slapped without it being one-on-one.

  2. That's just rotten, to say the least.


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