If I have a recommendation for a promotion but never got it, do I have a case?

I have an e-mail from HR stating that I was recommended to a promotion over 3 years ago. As of now, I still don’t have it and I have sent out e-mail, after e-mail asking about my raise. All I get is the run around from HR to the EEO here at the Veterans Hospital. Is there something that I can do?

Asked on May 12, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California


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) that provides you receive this promotion, a mere promise of such a promotion is not legally enforceable. The fact is that most employment is "at will" so a company can set the conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit (absent some form of legally actionable discrimination). This includes who gets promoted and when.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, there is nothing you can do. A recommendation for--or even a promise of--a promotion is *not* binding and enforceable. An employer has free rein to decide whether and when to promote someone, and can ignore any recommendations or promises and refuse to promote. There is no enforceable legal rights to promotions.

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