Is it legal for my employer to promote me, promise me a raise many times, and still not pay?

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Is it legal for my employer to promote me, promise me a raise many times, and still not pay?

I began working for my employer as a branch manager a year ago. Then 5 months ago I was promoted to training manager for our district by my district and regional managers. I asked both of them about a pay increase because I’d be doing 2 jobs with the company. My district told me that he wasn’t sure he was going to submit it to HR. Then he got fired, so I’ve been asking my regional since about my pay increase. He keeps telling me he is going to set me straight with my pay. Still no raise and since then I have trained 14 people. I don’t know what to do. How do I handle this?

Asked on July 28, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Alabama

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, unless you were actually given an employment contract which stated your pay or raise, your employer's promise is just a "gratuitous promise"--an unenforceable promise, freely made and freely reneged upon or disclaimed. The law does not enforce promises which are not embodied in actual contracts, absent special circumstances which do not appear to exist based on what you wrote. Also, there is no law saying the promotions, additional reponsibilities, harder work, etc. have to be rewarded by additional pay. From what you write, you most likely do not have any recourse.


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