Is employer obligated to maintain manager’s salary?

I am sales and marketing director for a software company, which is a subsidiary of a trucking company. The trucking company wants to shut down the software company. They have offered to sell the software company to the original developer of the software who is currently employed by the trucking company as an MIS director. My position is to be eliminated by the trucking company. When the sale of the software company is finalized it has been hinted that I may be offered my original position in the newly formed company. Of course I cannot base the future of my career on hints or promises. In the mean time, the trucking company has offered me a receptionist position until the software company is on its feet enough to maintain a sales & marketing position and salary.

In my eyes, I have been laid off and am eligible for unemployment until I can find other suitable employment for my level of skill. Another hint from the upper management suggests that my choices are a) accept the receptionist position or b) resign.

Under the law, what is my employer’s obligation to me to maintain my current salary for the receptionist position? If I do not accept the receptionist position, is my unemployed status still considered a lay off through no fault of my own? Am I eligible for unemployment?

Rita Risser’s response:

Unless you have an employment agreement or handbook that states otherwise, your employer is not obligated to maintain your current salary if you accept the receptionist position. If do not accept the receptionist position, your employment status will still be considered a “layoff.” You are eligible for unemployment if there is a reduction in your pay.

Maybe I’m paranoid, but somehow I can’t imagine them offering a male Sales and Marketing Director a receptionist position. Be alert for other signs of potential sex discrimination.

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