Is it unethical to constantly lie to your employee?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Is it unethical to constantly lie to your employee?

I am asking on behalf of another person. About 8 months ago, he was told that he would be getting a raise of pay. His district manager explained at this time that he could not go from $13.74 to $15.00 because the percentage was capped and that he would have to change his title in order to grant $15.00. Then 4 months ago, after months of jumping through hoops and doing all that he was asked changing titles and all, they still informed him they could not grant his pay change. The district manager then asked him to agree to a promotional title that would typically pay $19.00 but asked him to settle for $17.00 in order to give him his pay raise. He agreed and followed the process and continued to take extra work on. This was in October. Now they are telling him they cannot give him $17.00 but that they can now only give $15.00 but he has to keep the promotional title as Operations Supervisor and extra responsibilities. Needless to say the gentleman had a sorts of nervous breakdown mentally and emotionally and has been having trouble recuperating from this emotional rollercoaster they have been putting him through. Is any of this even legally ethical? Does he have grounds to sue for unethical practices? Mental and emotional distress? He resides in New York City.

Asked on November 9, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

It is unethical; unfortunately, it is not illegal, and so there is legal claim or other recourse. All employment is employment at will: employers set the terms and conditions of employment, including compensation, and can change it any time, for any reason, and so legally go back on their promises at will. Only if the promise was embodied in a written contract is it enforceable; otherwise, it counts for nothing and there is liability for an employer lying, reneging on promises, etc.

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.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption