Attorneys at Law

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Be informed.

I’m the Only One in My Department Who Did not Get a Pay Raise. Is that Legal?

If you are an employee working in a medium to large company the odds are good that your company has a policy of offering pay raises to employees at regularly scheduled intervals. What happens though, if you are the only employee in your department who did not get a pay raise? Is that legal? Although it may seem intrinsically unfair, it may very well be legal.

Despite the fact that there are numerous state and federal laws that protect workers in the United States, most employees know very little about their rights in the workplace. As a result, there are a number of myths and misperceptions that pervade the workplace. The above question is a perfect example. While it may seem unfair, even discriminatory, to be the only person in a department who did not receive a pay raise, it may not violate any state or federal laws. The reason for this is that only certain types of discrimination are prohibited by law. In order for your employer’s failure to give you a raise to be considered discrimination, that failure would have to be based on one of the limited classes or characteristics protected by law. For example, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in any aspect of employment, including pay raises, if that discrimination is based on an employee’s race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. Other state or federal laws may also protect you from discrimination based on attributes such as your age, pregnancy, disability, or even gender affiliation in some states. In order for your employer’s actions to be illegal, therefore, they must be based on one of these covered characteristics.

For example, if your employer failed to give you a raise because you are female or because of your religious beliefs, you would likely have a claim against your employer for illegal discrimination. If, on the other hand, your employer failed to give you a raise because of your poor work performance, or even because your employer doesn’t like the fact that you wear purple to work frequently, you would not have a claim based on illegal discrimination in the workplace. Because the laws are complex, it is always best to consult with an experienced employment law attorney to determine if you have an actionable case against your employer or not.

If you believe you have been discriminated against in the workplace, contact an experienced Conshohocken, Pennsylvania employment law attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. Contact the employment law attorneys at Curley & Rothman, LLC by calling 610-834-8819 today to schedule your free consultation.