Can my employer postpone my raise until after I come back from maternity leave?

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Can my employer postpone my raise until after I come back from maternity leave?

I was supposed to get a raise end of last month, June. However, because I’m taking maternity leave from September-December, my employer decided to postpone my raise until after I come back from leave. I was able to negotiate paid maternity leave but would have to work from home on an as needed basis while on leave. Recently, I found out that another pregnant employee who is taking maternity leave a few months later than me from December-February, got her raise. I’m feeling very uneasy about this. Is this legal in?

Asked on July 2, 2019 under Employment Labor Law, Washington

Answers:

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Actually this is legal. Most work relationships are "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit, unless the terms of a union agreement or employment contract are being violated. Also, a worker's treatment must not be due to some form of legally actionable discrimnation. However, here while your raise was postponed until after your maternity leave, your pregnant co-worker's raise was not. So there is no lesser treatment based solely on pregnancy. Accordingly, you have no claim here.

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

Answered 1 year ago | Contributor

Actually this is legal. Most work relationships are "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit, unless the terms of a union agreement or employment contract are being violated. Also, a worker's treatment must not be due to some form of legally actionable discrimnation. However, here while your raise was postponed until after your maternity leave, your pregnant co-worker's raise was not. So there is no lesser treatment based solely on pregnancy. Accordingly, you have no claim here.


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