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Legal Expert Justin
Legal Expert Justin, Lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 165
Experience:  Attorney
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I work in a county govt office. Heretofore we had a starting

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I work in a county govt office. Heretofore we had a starting salary, everybody got same percentage (2%, 3%, etc.) raise on start of new fiscal year. New dept director now is making people wait for a raise until their anniversary dates PLULS has pulled numbers out of the ether (depending upon how many years you've been here...those of us here longer than a few years will only get 2% raise, etched in stone...new hires get 4% and 5% raises for first few years). How is this legal?
JA: Because employment law varies from place to place, can you tell me what state this is in?
Customer: Texas.
JA: Has anything been filed or reported?
Customer: Nobody has been able to do anything. We were just notified this month we wouldn't get September 1 (new fiscal year) raises...and, BTW, everybody won't get same percentage of raise...
JA: Anything else you want the lawyer to know before I connect you?
Customer: Since the county pays into the retirement fund (ERS), these losses can't be recouped. I am 65 next month, I will complete my 7th year of employment Sept 29, and I become fully vested following Sept 29 (8 years). I can't recoup a loss of salary/retirement fund contributions, at my age.
Customer: replied 2 months ago.
While the rest of Denton County employees get 5% raises, OUR department gets what the new director has put forth (see attachments). The longer an employee stays, the less % pay raise, year-after-year. Can't make up for that in the ERS retirement fund. How is it legal for an employer to discriminate AGAINST employees that have been here the longest with punitive percentage raises over younger, new hires? As a Secretary, I started out 7 years ago at roughly $600 LESS than his current starting salary on chart, yet they get 5% raises (and this is how he decides he's making it "fair" for all?)...I, who have been here 7 years, will get...god, who knows...it's a math problem. See attachments.

Hello! My name is ***** ***** I'll be the Expert assisting you today. Did you have an employment contract that listed the amount of raises you would receive and when? Are you a member in a union?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
No employment contracts. Not a member of a union (no union here). Our department (Adult Probation) doesn't always get same % raise as other county employees. But it has always been a percentage across-the-board (for our department of roughly 90 employees). Every employee of this department got that same % raise, effective on Sept. 1 (the remainder of the county FY starts Oct 1st, that's when their across-the-board raises kick in). Now, some department employees will have a "lost" year (some having to wait until anniversary date, not getting a raise until NEXT July or August). My objection pertains to raises should be across the board (and going from fiscal year to anniversary date is playing dirty!). NOT reduced % for people who have been here the longest. This will cost employees THOUSANDS pension-wise. I wasn't going to retire for several years (so I could build up a decent retirement in the fund). The new director has just squashed that with small, flat raises for those of us here longer...while new employees come in at a higher salary and get bigger pay bumps. I don't see how this is legal.

Unfortunately, employers have wide discretion to change their policies (unless they are bound by a collective bargaining agreement). I understand that they way you are being treated is very unfair, but I do not think you will have any legal recourse. If a new manager decides to change the policy regarding when employees will receive raises and how much they will receive, there isn't much an employee can do about it. I'm sorry I don't have a better answer for you. Do you have any more questions today?

Customer: replied 2 months ago.
No other questions. I'd hope you would see it as discrimination against older employees. No such luck. The director is taking what should have been for employee raises and county contributions (tied to those raises) to the retirement accounts and using it for his pet projects and other stuff HE wants to do (buying county vehicles). It will cost employees THOUSANDS lost from pension payments in the future. Thank you for your opinion. The only bright spot is the mutiny that will follow (employees leaving--maybe that's their goal...get rid of older employees).

If you could prove that the employees age was a factor (assuming they are all over 40), you might have a case. However, all the employer has to say is that age has nothing to do with it, he just wanted to use that money for other projects. It would be very difficult to prove otherwise. The fact that new employees get larger raises is not based on age, is it?

That said, you could still file a complaint with the EEOC and let them investigate. The chances of success may be slim, but it would not cost you anything. Here is their website: https://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm.

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