Is it legal to be denied an annual raise, when supervisors point out factors that have nothing to do with the workplace?

Is it legal to be denied an annual raise, when supervisors point out factors that have nothing to do with the workplace? For instance, it was noted that I live quite a distance from work (but not the farthest away in the office), that I have dogs and that I volunteer at the zoo. None of these affects my work ability, timeliness, etc.

Asked on July 6, 2009 under Employment Labor Law, Missouri

Answers:

B. B., Member, New Jersey Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, unless you have a written contract of employment, this silliness isn't illegal.  Without a contract (or an employee handbook that is written in a way that can be used against the company as a contract, which is rare), you are an employee at will, and there is no legal need for the company to have any reason at all for denying you a raise, or for firing you if it came to that.

If you believe that the real reason behind this is that there is racial or some other kind of illegal discrimination going on, then please discuss all the facts with a lawyer in your area.


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