If all employee got a cost of living and merit raise in my department except me because I am the highest paid hourly employee, do I have any rights?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If all employee got a cost of living and merit raise in my department except me because I am the highest paid hourly employee, do I have any rights?

Our department manager has a meeting will 4 employees in my finance department except for me. When I approached him he stated he was going to speak with me before I left. Due to me being the highest paid hourly employee they were changing the company policy this year and I was basically on pay freeze till the other could balance out to my pay. I asked if I get at least a cost of living raise and he stated no. I spoke with a few employees and they stated some got both cost of living and merit and others stated they just got the cost of living. He stated that my work performance and attendance is not a issue because I do the job of 6 people and I an one of the hardest working employees. So how can they justify not giving me a cost of living?

Asked on January 8, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

They don't need to "justify" it. There are no laws requiring raises or cost of lilving adjustments, or requiring employers to treat employees alike or fairly. Rather, unless you have a written employment contract which guaranteed you raises, your employer is free to give, or to not give, you a raise at will, and your employer (in the absence of a written employment contract) has free discretion over how much you are paid. So what you write may not be fair, but it is entirely legal: the employer can simply decide to not give a raise without any "justification" for it.

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