What are the laws about interviewing for an internal promotion?

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What are the laws about interviewing for an internal promotion?

I was asked to fulfill an interim position for 3 months and also posted for the position. I was never given any pay differential. After the interim position timeframe was concluded, I was informed I did an amazing job and my application for the permanent position was wonderful. However, they still hired an external candidate. I have almost 15 years of exceptional performance with the company. My credentials also surpass the person who was hired. Are there any laws around this situation?

Asked on December 1, 2011 under Employment Labor Law, Nebraska

Answers:

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

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

Based on the facts presented, there appears to be no legal protection for you here. The fact is that most employment arrangements are "at will". This means that you can choose to work for an employer or not, and an employer can hire or fire you for any reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all.  Additionally, it can set the terms and conditions of employment as it sees fit, including who is or isn't promoted. So while seemingly unfair, your treatment violates no laws.

The exceptions to the above would be if this action violated: company policy, an employment contract, or a union agreement. Additionally, no form of actionable discrimination must have played a role in your not being promoted. In other words you must be in protected class to have legal recourse against your employer for such a situation. Employment discrimination is based on reasons having to do with age, race, religion, gender, and the like.  Unfortunately, being the most qualified for a position does not put you in such a protected class. 


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