What to do about an incorrect pay scale and retroactive pay?

UPDATED: Dec 23, 2011

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What to do about an incorrect pay scale and retroactive pay?

At my current employer jobs are classified within pay scales. I’ve been paid as a “level 21” for the past 3 years and I found out last week that my job is actually classified as a “level 22”. HR told me that the classification level means nothing and I am not entitled to retroactive pay at the higher rate. Is that true?

Asked on December 23, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

If you had an employment contract of some kind, which delineates that employees are paid at a certain rates for certain levels, you could enforce that contract's terms and get the retroactive pay. However, in the absence of a contract, you cannot--the employer determines how much to pay you, and may choose to pay you at a different rate than your ostensible "level" (your level has no general legal import; it is the employer's own classification system, voluntarily adopted for its convenience) or title or responsibilities.

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