Is it illegal to not give a pay raise to a factory employee of 21 years the whole time that they have been working there?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is it illegal to not give a pay raise to a factory employee of 21 years the whole time that they have been working there?

My uncle was a refuge due to the Vietnam War and because of lack of education and

family obligations, has to stick to the same job for 21 years. However, they haven’t

given him a raise, yet the company that he works for gives raises to people who do

the same job who have been working there far less than he has or even had just

started working there.

Asked on February 22, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Massachusetts


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

No, it is not illegal, UNLESS the reason they refuse to give him a raise is because of a protected characteristic, such as his race or national origin, or his age over 40, or his religion, or a medical disability. If they are treating him worse than others because of one of those factors, that may be illegal discrimination. On the other hand, however:
1) There is no general right to a raise--employers never need to give raises;
2) There is no right to be treated the same as other employees or fairly--unless the employer is discrminating for one of the reasons discussed above, they can treat some employees worse than others; and
3) Even someone in a protected category (such as a member of a racial minority, or someone with a disabiity) can be denied a raise or be paid less than others if there is a non-discriminatory reason for it, such as being less educated than other employees or doing the job not as well.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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