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AttorneyTom, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
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My employer has denied me a pay raise, while the average pay

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My employer has denied me a pay raise, while the average pay raises have been 10%. Their reasoning was the following:

-Time management issues resulting in projects not meeting deadlines and running over budgets,
-Lack of focus and drive that leads to a communication disconnect with staff,
-Failure to communicate project status, and
-Doesn’t commit to working on projects outside of firm core hours.

However, I do not agree with any of their comments. On all projects which I have been given a deadline I have met, and if there was a possibility the project was not going to be completed on the date as agreed upon the reasoning was due to missing information from clients.

Our firm’s core hours are 10:00am to 3:00pm. There are several people that don’t get into work until around 10:00am. I usually would get to work around 7:30am. The reason I got to work so early was to make sure I could get my work done, and get home to my wife who is on bed rest as a result of having preterm labor contractions four months out from the baby being due. Because my wife is on bed rest I need to be able to take her to several doctors appointments. I explained this to my senior manager and the HR representative during my review. My manager made the comment, “you may want to think about hiring someone to help you clean every other week.” I also explained to them that we have had a miscarriage this year, which is why this is a pretty high risk pregnancy.

Before I had my review I went to our lead partner at my firm and asked him if it would be okay if I worked earlier because of my situation, and he said that would be fine. I also asked him if it would be okay if I took about two weeks off to handle appointments with my wife, and he said no. The lead partner has also said on many occasions I don’t care when you work as long as you get in your hours, which I always do. I told my senior manager about the conversation I had with the lead partner and he told me, “you have not violated any firm polices by coming into work early, but you need to start staying later despite your situation.” I then told him there are others who get into work early and leave early or work from home and he said, “you are not in a position to work whatever hours you want.”

I believe most of this havoc is due to a project I worked on for another partner. I have been working on the project for the past three years. Each year the project takes around 100 hours to complete. However, this year the manager who reviews my work before it goes to the partner quit. Before he quit he was able to review my work on the project, but I guess the partner thought he better get familiar with what is going on since he will have to explain the workpapers to another manager who takes it over. As a result of the partner reviewing the project more closely he discovered that it was being prepared wrong, which is crazy because he reviews it each year and ultimately signs off on it. The project is sort of a weird situation because the client is actually another partner who is the receiver in a litigation proceeding. I talked with the partner which is the client on this project and he said the partner who should have been reviewing it has not been doing his job and actually checking the project and now that partner is asking him about transactions that happened two or three years ago. The manager on this project also believes the partner has not been doing his job.

So, basically my question is what can I do to take legal action against them? Also, I have voice recordings of several of the conversations.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated.
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 6 years ago.
Hello! I'm sorry to hear about the situation!

As an aside:
You should immediately discuss with your attorney the issue of voice recordings prior to taking additional recordings. In some situations, voice recordings can result in criminal/civil liability, so recording another person is something an individual should involve his/her attorney in.

An employer may, sadly, require an employee to perform at whatever level the employer typically desires. Sadly, employers typically have little to no restriction when setting standards for employees to meet.
Unfortunately, unless there's a contract to the contrary, nothing requires an employer to provide a raise.
Sadly, this is true regardless of the raises an employer grants to other employees.
However, if an employee can show that he/she is denied a raise (or treated adversely in any way) due to unlawful discrimination (age over 40, race, gender, disability, etc.), that can provide a basis for legal action.
Likewise, if the employer fails to abide by a contract, that can also provide a basis for legal action.

I know that this may not be entirely what you wanted to hear. However, it's the honest truth and I know you want a truthful answer above all. I hope that you will click accept so that I am paid for my time and effort spent providing this information.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.

Sorry, my main concern is not so much the raise. They basically have said they are going to give me another review in two months and see if I have improved on the items they noted, and if they determine I have not, they said they could terminate me.

So my main concern is if they fire me would I have a case against them, because I have been doing everything they have been asking me.

Expert:  AttorneyTom replied 6 years ago.
Thanks for clarifying!

Unfortunately, unless an employee has an employment contract, an employee is typically employed at will.
This means that either the employee or the employer can typically modify or even terminate the employment relationship at any time for almost any reason.
While this is often unfair, it is the sad reality of at-will employment.
Sadly, this means that, unless an employee is terminated contrary to a contract or due to unlawful discrimination, an employer may usually terminate an employee with impunity.
Unfortunately, even when an employer sets unfair or unreasonable expectations, the employer is typically entitled to do so as employers may usually set their own performance requirements.

I know that this may not be entirely what you wanted to hear. However, it's the honest truth and I know you want a truthful answer above all. I hope that you will click accept so that I am paid for my time and effort spent providing this information.
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