What are my rights if I was not paid the wages agreed to when I was hired?

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What are my rights if I was not paid the wages agreed to when I was hired?

My employer and I agreed to a specific waged increase after a 90 day probationary period. I eventually received an increase in pay but not the agreed upon wage. Also, my wage increase wasn’t given at the agreed 90 day point. So back pay is also owed. I advised the Vice President of my department who hired me of the error. In an email response he said he would have it corrected. However the single

person HR department who is also the owners daughter is refusing to correct the wage issue by manipulating the situation. She claims the Vice President has to instruct her to make the changes which he has. Then in the same breath she claims that he said hes not going to make the changes which is not true. My 90 probationary period was completed on 9 months ago, yet still nothing has been done to correct this issue. What are my options in dealing with this? Can I make these people correct this issue and also protect my employment while doing so?

Asked on November 14, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Tennessee

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unfortunately, the only real issue is whether you had a written employment contract for a set or defined period of time (like a one-year contract) which guaranteed you the raise. If you did, you could sue for "breach of contract" to enforce its terms and get the money. (Suing would be the only way to enforce the contract.)
However, without such a written contract, you were an employee at will; an employee at will has no guaranty of any specific or promised amount of pay (or indeed, of keeping his/her job at all), and your pay is simply whatever the employer wants it to be. The employer decides what to pay you, you have no say in it, and the employer can go back on promises made about pay at will. Without a written contract, you would have no enforceable rights in this regard.


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