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Marsha411JD, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 20354
Experience:  Licensed Attorney with 29 yrs. exp in Employment Law
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If your employer has a three level pay system with level one

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If your employer has a three level pay system with level one the lowest pay and level three the highest and to get to the levels you must pass testing and there must be an opening or posting of a position. My question is, can that employer force an employee to do a higher level position without compensating with the higher pay?

Thank you for the information and your question. Unless there is a bargaining agreement or other contract that restricts an employer from assigning any duties that they see fit, then the employer is free to do so. However, if there is a contract in place that restricts the employer's ability to assign any duties they deem appropriate, with or without more pay, then the employee might have a cause of action for the extra pay.

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I would be glad to assist you further if I can.
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

When hired, the new employees had to sign a paper that stated that they agreed to the conditions of hire and the policies, including the three different pay tiers which are based on the three levels. Each level has it's own job description and responsibilitys and guideline to reach each level. Would that signed agreement be considered a contract?

Normally, no. Unless there is an actual employment contract that locks in a specific employee's job duties, pay, and is for a specific term, then there is not an enforceable contract that would limit the employer from changing the terms and conditions of employment. Usually that is a bargaining agreement with a union, or an individual contract for services. Otherwise, the employer is always free to change and add duties, change pay (prospectively), and change hours of work, etc.

That said, this is enough of a unique issue that it would be appropriate to raise with HR and point out that the policy notice you signed says that you don't qualify for those duties unless you are tested and promoted, so how can you be asked to do them without that. I can tell you that they will likely tell you what I told you, and at that point, the only recourse would be to attempt to file suit for the extra pay. But based solely on the information you provided, it is highly unlikely that a court would find in the employees' favor.
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