Employment Law/Lowering pay and mistreatment
My brother works for a car dealership......can they lower his base pay and no one else's? They said he must purchase a cellphone dedicated to the dealership or they would take 100.00.....everyday is a new reason to take money. If a customer doesn't give a deposit.....they will take his money.......if a customer doesn't return, they take his money.....is this legal?
Are they allowed to listen in on transactions with customers.
Linda: Much of what you relate here appears to be in violation of New Jersey law (assuming your brother works in NJ, since your post shows NJ as your location). Here is a link to the section of the New Jersey labor statutes relating to deductions from wages:
I hope this link works. If not, do a search for "New Jersey Statutes 34:11-4.4"
You will see there that the state places a number of conditions on withholding of wages from employees in New Jersey, by listing those items for which payroll deductions are permissible. I note that the cost of tools or equipment necessary to do the job (such as, in this case, a cell phone) is NOT on the permitted list, nor is there any provision for deducting money because a customer doesn't give a deposit or doesn't return after an initial visit. Even the permitted deductions cannot be made unless the employee has previously authorized it in writing, either directly or through a collective bargaining representative (that is, a union.)
As for his base pay, while there is no outright prohibition against an employer lowering the pay of an employee, an employer must give an employee advance notice of a reduction in his or her wage rate. The reduction cannot be made retroactively for any time worked. Also, the reduction cannot bring the rate of pay below minimum wage.
You mentioned that the dealership reduced your brother's base pay but not that of his fellow workers. Unfortunately, that also is lawful unless by doing so the employer has violated an employment contract, and/or discriminated against your brother on the basis of any of the characteristics covered by the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination. There is an informative chart on this web page, maintained by the Office of the Attorney General:
You can also find a great deal of additional information about the lawful handling of employee wages and work hours in New Jersey at this page, on the website of the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development:
In light of all this, it appears your brother may have good reason to pursue a wage claim against his employer with the state. (There are links on the DOL&WD site for filing such claims, along with other information claimants usually want to know.) In addition, I would suggest that if possible, your brother consult with an experienced local attorney who specializes in employment law, especially wage claims, before he files his claim. The attorney can answer his questions and assist with managing the claim and communicating with the employer or the employer's counsel, and will be well worth any expense involved. If you don't know an attorney in this field, you can run an Internet search on the name of the city or county where your brother works and the words "bar association attorney referral." Virtually all bar associations have this service, which matches people up with attorneys who specialize in the areas where people have issues.
I hope you find this helpful.