If you are like other workers, you probably look forward to making employment accomplishments like getting a promotion. When you get promoted, it could mean you have good work ethic and excellent job performance. However, if you get demoted, your expectations can go awry. A demotion can lower your work responsibilities, salary, and status. This can happen when your performance does not meet your employer’s standards to maintain your position. Because of this, you want to make sure your demotion is reasonable and legal. New Jersey employment lawyers can help you determine the legality of your demotion and take appropriate action if they find it unlawful.
When Can You Be Demoted?
Most employees in New Jersey are at-will employees. Thus, their employer can fire or demote them at any time for almost any reason. But some exceptions to this rule exist including discrimination, retaliation, and whistleblowing.
Employers who believe an employee’s performance is substandard can demote them or decrease their hours and pay. Also, they can change this employee’s job descriptions, assign them new duties, and reduce their pay when some necessary changes have to happen. Also, this can occur when a company is reorganizing its workforce.
Employees who work on individual employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements may be protected against a demotion. Also, state and federal protections exist to govern wrongful demotions.
How to Appeal the Demotion
Usually, you can have your demotion handled by your HR department before you take further action. Write a written complaint that details what occurred and why you think the demotion was not legal. Send this to HR, so they can investigate your case. A formal appeal process might include reviews, interviews, and others. Expect the investigation to take some time.
Make sure you talk to an HR representative politely and non-defensively. If there is a formal process to follow when appealing an employment decision, ask for a review of your demotion. Otherwise, request a meeting with appropriate personnel to discuss what happened. Make sure to have documents ready like copies of the appeal letter, emails, positive performance reviews, and information about your accomplishments.
Steps to Take if You Have Been Wrongfully Demoted
If you think you have been wrongfully demoted, you must speak with an employment lawyer. A lawyer can analyze what happened and explain your legal options. If they will take your case, they can assist you when filing a formal complaint with the EEOC. Pursuing a claim against the company you are working for can make it possible for you to recover compensation for the losses you sustained due to the wrongful actions of your employer.