IfI wasn’t paid a promised raise, what are my rights?

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IfI wasn’t paid a promised raise, what are my rights?

I had my 1 year evaluation 11 months ago and was promised a raise by my employer. However when reviewing my pay stubs I noticed that the raise was never implemented on any paychecks from the date of my evaluation to today’s date. I am pretty upset about the situation and the company owes me a good amount of money. What are my options if the company decides not to reimburse me the money?

Asked on November 29, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You probably need to think about matters differently, unfortunately: the company does not owe you money, and they do not have to reimburse you, since you never in fact received the raise. Only if you had been given the raise and not paid the extra amount, would they owe it to you.

Companies can determine compensation more or less at will. A promise to give someone a raise is not enforceable--the company may change its mind or go back on its word--unless:

1) There was an actual contract (written or oral) to provide a raise; for there to have been a contract, you must basically have been offered the raise in exchange for doing something (taking on extra duties; changing locations or shifts; changing departments or jobs; etc.) which you agree to do and actually did.

2) Or if the raise was offered to induce you to give up some other benefit or opportunity or do something else to your detriment, and you did that; so, for example, if you'd been looking for a different job, the employer knew or believed you were doing that, and offered you the raise to induce you to stay. If you gave up another job opportunity because of the promised raise, that might make the promise binding.

Without 1) or 2), however, the promise is most likely not enforceable.

 


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