If my job title was finally updated, what are my rights to retroactive pay?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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If my job title was finally updated, what are my rights to retroactive pay?

I’m a certified medical assistant. My employer had my job title as office assistant, which is wrong, for the 3 years Ive been here. When we finally resolved the issue and changed it to my proper title, I asked them about retroactive pay. My boss is telling me that an office assistant which is basically just a receptionist, and a certified medical assistant make the same amount of pay and hour therefore, they do not owe me anything for paying me wrong and having me at the wrong job title for almost 3 years. After doing some research, I found an office assistant in my state usually only starts off around minimum wage since it doesn’t require any type of schooling background and a medical assistant starts off somewhere around $15 an hour which isn’t even close to what they’re paying me. I’m wondering who is wrong in this situation from a legal standpoint and if they actually do owe me money.

Asked on November 30, 2016 under Employment Labor Law, New York


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

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

The fact is that most employment is "at will". This means that a company can set the conditions of employment much as it sees fit. This includes how much to pay a worker. Therefore, unless you have a union agreement or empolyment contract that provides otherwise, you are not entited to retroactive pay. Also, no form of legally actionable discrimination/retaliation must be the reason for your treatment, however you did not indicate that to be the case.

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