Can I be denied a standard pay raise because of my doctor-patient relationship with my place of employment?

I am employeed at a private physician medical practice. I have worked here for just over 2 years. I was initially hired for a different position than I am in now. During my probation period, I was asked to take a higher position, that was supposed to come with more pay, according to my office manager. After working in my new position, I was informed, again by the office manager, that I would not be compensated at the rate I had expected. The doctor, who also owns the practice, would not agree to adjusting my pay to the starting rate of my new position. I did not argue this due to still being a fairly new employee and didn’t want to lose my job. I have received some raises since my date of hire. However, I am basically still being paid lower than my fellow co-workers, who hold the same job title as me. Since I have become an employee for this practice, I have also become a patient. Due to insurance issues and other things, I have accumulated a balance on my patient account. I just recently come to my 2 year evaluation, where I was told that if I wanted to be given a raise, I would first have to pay off my patient balance. I feel like I should not he pentalized as an employee because of my doctor patient relationship there. I have now been employeed here for over 2 years, and I am currently being paid an hourly wage that the company hires on new employees for my exact position. I know this to be a fact because my office manager told me this, and because the company very recently hired a new employee, and again, for my exact position, for my hourly wage that I make now, 2 years later. The only difference between me and this new employee is that I work my position for a full work day. The new employee, only works this position for half days, and then acts as what we call a

Asked on October 3, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Florida


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have an employment contract or union agreement, you are an "at will" worker. This means that your employer can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. This includes what rate to pay. Further, while legally actionable discrimination is illegal, not all workers need be treated the same or even fairly. In other words, unless your treatment is due to your race, religion, disability, age (over 40), gender, national origin, etc., unfavorable treatment is not against the law. Accordingly, you have no claim here. If you find your working conditions unacceptable, you can either complain about them or quit. Unfortunately, those are your only choices.

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