Can an employer randomly move dates of annual wage increases to the benefit of some but to the detriment of others?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Can an employer randomly move dates of annual wage increases to the benefit of some but to the detriment of others?

My employer decided that for the sake of efficiency, they would move to a new

system for annual cost of living adjustments. Rather than your review date, you

now receive your COLA on your original date of hire anniversary. However, this shift in dates caused some employees to randomly receive an increase in pay sooner than they should, and others to go almost 2 years without an increase. While it is random whether you are on the winning or losing side of the new system, it is grossly unfair and rewards others with higher pay and punishes others by keeping them from getting the increase, effectively costing them money over time. When I brought this to their attention, they basically said they were aware but that was their final decision. What are my options other than resigning?

Asked on June 15, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

An employer can absolutely do this. There is no law requiring any raises whatsoever and no laws regulating them: raises are entirely up to the employer, and the employer may give them when, to whom, why, and in whatever amounts it wants. As part of that, an employer can change the date(s) of "annual" raises if it likes--since it could also decide to simply not give raises at all. That it may inconvenience some employees or benefit others is irrelevant--the law does not require equal or fair treatment for employees. So yes this is legal.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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