What are my rights if I’ve been working as a maintenance man for almost 4 years and no raise?

I have been working as a maintenance man for 4 years and still get paid the same as I did 4 years ago, 12. My employer just hired a new office worker to assist the manager. We are the only 3 men that work here at this self-storage business. The new guy is getting paid the same amount as I am and the manager gets paid more than twice the amount if my wage. How can I still only get paid 12 if I am doing electrical work, repair and installment? And how can the new guy be offered the same wage?

Asked on September 23, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, California


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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that most workers need not be treated the same or even fairly unless such differing treatment is based on legally actionable discrimination (i.e. based on a workers's race, religion, disability, age (over 40), etc.). Absent that, paying a new employee the same as one with more seniority is perfectly permissable. The only protection you would have here is if there is an employment contract or union agreement to the contrary. As long as you are making minimum wage, you have no automatic right to a pay increase. In an "at will" work setting, a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. Bottom line, if you want a raise, you'll have to aske for one. If you don't get it you can complain but risk termination or quit.

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