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Law Educator, Esq.
Law Educator, Esq., Attorney
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 111489
Experience:  20+ Years of Employment Law Experience
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I have worked part-time fifteen years Property

Customer Question

I have worked part-time for nearly fifteen years for a Property Management Company. During a difficult transitional phase this spring, we lost several employees. Beginning in April, I was called upon to fill in full time. Full time employees--in addition to paid time off, insurance coverage and other perks--are paid a couple dollars more than part-timers. I inquired about a salary adjustment, and the response was that they couldn't understand my issue. Corporate Management rarely replies to emails or answers inquiries. At about this same time, a new onsite director was hired, which was a good thing. As he and the remaining senior fulltime person began to adjust the work schedule for the forseeable future and to establish stability, I was approached about my possible willingness to work four nights/week rather than the two that I had always worked. I accepted. At the same time, the director pointed out that by working 32 hrs/week, I would now be considered a full-time employee, with paid time off. I added, "and a salary increase, I'm sure." He walked away saying, "well, I just don't know about that." I have continued to work full time, between 32 and 40 hrs every week. We finally hired another full-time person, just a couple weeks ago to fill a difficult shift that I had been covering. I know he started at full-time wages. He lacks previous experience. (He's a very nice person, nothing personal.)
Particulars: We cover the front desk at a condominium 24/7. There are three shifts, 11PM to 7AM, 7AM to 3PM and 3PM to 11PM. I filled in on the 3PM to 11PM until we recently hired a new person. My "home" shift is 11PM to 7AM, and I work Fri, Sat, Sun and Mon nights --and frequently an additional shift, when nec. I am the only woman on staff, and I am 73 and retired from my previous full-time job. This is my fifteenth year with the current company, where I began and continued for years as a part-timer. I have stopped asking or referring to salary adjustment, preferring to keep my head down, work my new extended hours, and lay down a record of schedule and attendance. BTW, my attendance is excellent, the best of any of us, and I am never late, arriving ten to fifteen minutes early each day. I was named Employee of the Month in April, with a $50 Visa gift card. Now, however, no one from Corporate HR has contacted me with any acknowledgement of my changed status, my forthcoming benefits, salary adjustment or perks of any kind. I am trying not to upset myself, continue to do a good job and prepare for some kind of future meeting or confrontation. What should I do?
Thank you so much for your time.
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Law Educator, Esq. replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your question. I look forward to working with you to provide you the information you are seeking for educational purposes only.
Under Missouri law, which are not favorable to employees, any employment where there is no written contract to the contrary is considered at will employment. An at will employee can have their hours, pay and terms of employment dictated by the employer and the employee has no recourse UNLESS the employer is doing something to the employer ONLY based on the age/race/sex/disability/national origin of the employee and if that is the basis for the action, then the employee has a right to file a complaint with the EEOC who has to investigate to grant the employee a right to sue letter.
Sadly, in these cases, the employer's pay arrangement with the employee is up to the employer's discretion and they do not have to agree to pay the employee benefits or vacation or a higher pay rate if the employer does not want to do so.
However, in a case like your case, where they hired a younger worker and are paying them benefits and a higher hourly wage and not you, I would suggest to you that there is at least a basic case that this is based on your age and as such it would form the basis for a complaint that you are being treated differently than other similarly situated employees who are younger and THAT is a violation of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. For this, you should consider filing a complaint with the EEOC if the employer does not agree to pay you what they are paying the younger employees working the same number of hours as you and for not giving you the same benefits and have them investigate.
If the employer takes action against you after you file the EEOC complaint, then this is considered retaliation and it is the basis for a separate lawsuit against the employer (even if your age discrimination complaint is not proven) and you can get damages for lost wages and emotional distress for retaliation in addition to your discrimination claims.