Can one group of employees be paid more than others?

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Can one group of employees be paid more than others?

A pay study was completed about 15 months ago. As a result, my department received a 1.25 raise across the board. They also raised the starting pay which resulted in recent new hires myself included to receive a greater boost to reach the new minimum. The city I work for pays a 2.5 raise to every employee completing a 6 month probationary period. The group I was hired with last year received our 2.5 raise after 6 months as stipulated, then received the required amount to bring us to the new minimum. The group hired after us in February 2018 also received the amount needed to bring them to the new minimum. They have not completed their 6-month probation yet but when they do, they will be making 2.5 more than the group I was hired with. While we received it at the time, the 2.5 probation increase seems to have been taken away and we will be the lowest paid in the department once the newest group completes their 6 month probation. Do we have any standing to dispute this situation or are we out of luck and relegated to being the lowest paid in the department despite our seniority over the newest group?

Asked on August 8, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, North Carolina

Answers:

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unless this action violates the terms of an employment contract or union agreement, it is legal. The fact is that most businesses can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. Accordingly, not all workers need be treated the same or even fairly, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination.

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

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unless this action violates the terms of an employment contract or union agreement, it is legal. The fact is that most businesses can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. Accordingly, not all workers need be treated the same or even fairly, absent some form of legally actionable discrimination.


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