Maybe. This is a tricky question. On its face, yes, an employer can do this. If your employer wishes to hire an employee who makes less money than you do, that is a legitimate reason for a termination. Employers have the right to control how much they spend on payroll.
However, be aware that the person the employer seeks to hire is often younger than the employee being replaced in this situation, and reducing the amount spent on payroll could be what’s called a “pretextual” reason for the termination. It is possible in these situations that the employer’s real reason for the termination is age discrimination. Employers can’t discriminate on the basis of age when it comes to hiring, firing, pay, job assignments, promotions, layoff, training, fringe benefits, and any other term or condition of employment. Unfortunately, sometimes employers (wrongly!) want to fire older workers. If you suspect that you’ve been fired for a discriminatory reason, let the Hayber, McKenna & Dinsmore know about it.
Check out this great story about an older worker’s hard work and determination: www.newyork.cbslocal.com