Bloomberg Law Features Heidi Reavis Discussing the Legality and Fairness of Pay Cuts Related to COVID-19

As the economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic keeps mounting, and employers try to make decisions about how to keep their balance sheets—and those of their employees—in the black, pay cuts to all ranks are becoming standard protocol. Certain companies have chosen to introduce pay cuts for those at the top only, others have instilled across-the-board cuts at equal percentages, and others still have tried to play “fair” by instituting greater salary cuts to those employees who might be able to better afford it with lesser cuts to those who might need more support.

However, as reported in a new Bloomberg Law article this morning, playing fair might not be legally defensible—and unfortunately, what’s legally defensible might not be fair. Bloomberg reached out to RPJ Partner Heidi Reavis for the article. “Favoring a sick colleague or a single female raising a family might seem the right empathetic choice, but result in unfairness to others and expose the company to a lawsuit from others whose compensation was reduced or whose jobs were terminated, yet not in a protected class,” she said.

Reavis further noted how the cuts and economic hardship of COVID-19 will likely affect one group more: women. The gender pay gap still persists, and in past recessions, it has dipped lower. This one is likely to follow the same suit. As Reavis said, “I expect employment decisions in the COVID-19 era to exacerbate pre-existing pay disparities and wage gaps. We’re starting out this marathon with weights already on our legs.”

To read more of Reavis’s comments, see the full article in Bloomberg Law here: “What’s Legal in Covid-19 Pay Cuts Isn’t Necessarily What’s Fair”