I have been working as an independent contractor for a company and paid a monthly rate. Recently I have been hired on as an employee. The company sent me an offer letter (which went through HR, my manager, and my supervisor a few times)that stated the rate they would be paying me hourly. I signed this offer letter, and two weeks later I looked at my paystub and they have been paying me $5 less an hour then they offered me. I have brought this to their attention and they said it was their mistake...Im not sure how it got past so many people if it was a mistake. They also led me to believe that I would be getting benefits and I sat through two one hour meetings on benefits. When I went to sign in for benefits I was unable to. HR apologized to me saying they were sorry to mislead me and that I have to be a full time year round employee as apposed to a full time seasonal employee. I totally understand this, but everyone in the company also know that I am not actually going to be seasonal but year round. I let that one go for the time being, but with the double whammy I am wondering if anyone has any suggestions? Thanks.

  • 1
    " they said it was their mistake." Do you know get your $5 more? – FooTheBar Aug 27 '16 at 20:54
  • 3
    They owe you exactly what they offered in writing. If the offer didn't include benefits, there's nothing you can do. If it did, they're not holding up their end of the bargain. – Blrfl Aug 27 '16 at 21:22

Don't pay for other people's mistakes, take your paperwork with you and push this issue until you get a resolution. If it's an honest mistake, too bad for them they still need to pay, if not, then you probably don't want to work there anyway. Either way keep pushing the issue and look for another job just in case. $5 an hour is a lot of money. I'm assuming you charged much more as a consultant. I would use that as leverage politely.

"Sorry boss, but this doesn't work for me at $5 less an hour than offered, I'd rather go back to consulting at $50 an hour."


First, you need to decide in your own mind if you would rather have this job at the terms they are now offering, or go and look for another job. At some point it is likely to come to the point where you have to make that decision. However bear in mind that, in my opinion at least, the company is trying to cheat you. Companies do not make mistakes like this, and the few that do are going to fail. Also, be aware that this is not legal advice and I am not a lawyer. However it doesn't take legal training to know that every industrialized nation, including the US, has laws that oblige a company to pay the wages agreed to.

Here is what I suggest.

  1. Make sure that you have a copy of all communications about this up to now at home. You want a copy of all emails and all written documents available to you if you should suddenly be barred from your work premises or work accounts.
  2. From now on make sure all communication is in writing (email or paper), and that you keep copies for yourself outside work.
  3. Read your offer letter and any other communication carefully to check that you were in fact offered what you thought you were offered, and see whether there is any mention of benefits or whether your offer describes the position as 'seasonal'.
  4. Assuming you still think you should be getting $+5 and benefits, write a clear letter to the company stating that you were offered the higher rate, and you only accepted the position based on that rate. If there is no mention of being a 'seasonal' employee, say that too. In the absence of a clear statement that you are a 'seasonal' employee you should be entitled to whatever benefits other employees get. sk them to indicate where in the offer you are stated to be a 'seasonal employee. Don't be angry or rude, but tell them that you agreed to terms with them and you expect them to abide by them. tell them you expect a written response.
  5. If the company tries to give you a response other than in writing, tell them that you expect a written response and that you will consider anything they say once they put it in writing. Don't discuss anything with them until they put it in writing. Never give them a verbal response - always make sure that anything you say to them is written down. and that they write everything they offer down. If at this point they make you an offer you can live with, accept it. However I would strongly recommend that you insist on getting backpay amounting to the full wages you agreed to up until the time you reached another agreement.
  6. If you aren't getting anywhere with this, then you need a lawyer. Consult one and turn everything over to them. My advice stops here, because you should do whatever the lawyer says. Frankly you might be as well off getting a lawyer right now, and only the cost makes me hesitate to recommend one.

In parallel with this, make sure your resume is up to date, start the process of discreetly looking for another job.

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