What ca I do if I was promised a raise 2 months ago but haven’t gotten it?

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What ca I do if I was promised a raise 2 months ago but haven’t gotten it?

I have lost money because they haven’t gotten it through yet. Are they obligated to give me back pay?

Asked on February 24, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

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

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Was this pay raise a part of an employment contract or collective bargaining agreement? Was your not getting it due to some form of legally actionable discrimination (i.e. due to your race, religion, disability, age (over 40), etc.)? If not, then as an "at will" worker, your company can set the conditions of your employment much as it sees fit. This includes when and whether or not to pay a promised raise.

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

If the raise was promised in a written employment contract with a specific date for the raise, and you did not get it when the contract said you should, you may be able to sue your employer for breach of contract for the money. (Unfortunately, suing is the only way to get money contractually owed you, if the other party will not voluntarily honor its obligations.)
If it was not in such a written employment contract, however, you have no right to it:
1) Noncontractual promises (also called "gratuitous promises") are not legally enforceable, and the promissor can go back on them at will.
2) Without an employment contract, you are an "employee at will," and your employer can set, change--or not change--your pay at any time, at will.


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