Is it illegal for an employer to promote one employee before another when both employees are qualified for promotion?

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Is it illegal for an employer to promote one employee before another when both employees are qualified for promotion?

There are 2 employees who have the same qualifications. Both have the chance to be promoted (to same position). One is then promoted but the other employee is given more goals to accomplish before the manager says he can get promoted. The one that didn’t get promoted was just moved to a new team (new manager but same director) and then given the additional goals. As soon as he moved teams, that’s when the other employee got promoted.

Asked on January 21, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arkansas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

The law does not require employers to *ever* promote anyone, and if they choose to, they are fully free to choose whom to promote, when. Therefore, except as set forth below, your employer may legally do what it did.

The exception: the employer may not discriminate in promotions (or in any way) against an employee due to his or her race, sex, religion, age (over 40), or disability.


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