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Employer reneging on promised raise

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gloaming

Junior Member
What is the name of your state? New Mexico

My husband, a paramedic with the same company for 30 years, has run into a snag at work. As a way of retaining paramedics, his company announced significant raises for all field personnel. When my husband received his raise letter three weeks ago, he was very happy to see that they were raising his pay by $2/hour.

He was surprised when, come pay day, there was no raise. He immediately went to HR to find out what had happened. They told him that, because he was at the top of his position’s pay range, he would not be receiving a raise.

Now, he’s been at the top of the scale for seven years. The way his employer gives him raises is in a lump sum. Naturally, he assumed this would be the case this time. But no. According to HR and the CEO there will be absolutely nothing.

Is it legal to offer an employee a raise and then reverse the decision? There are eight other paramedics in the same situation, all with their pay raises in writing. None of them knows what, if anything, they can do. If anyone has advice, I would sure appreciate it. Thank you!
 

cbg

I'm a Northern Girl
Even if true, and I am not even remotely convinced that it is, the OP should be aware that the maximum UI benefit in NM is $433 per week, and no one here can guarantee that he'd get the maximum.
 

Mass_Shyster

Senior Member
The employer *may* owe the difference for the time worked after "promising" the raise until employee was told that it was a lie. So we might be talking about $160 for two weeks.

An interesting question is "What are the ages of the eight affected?" and "What are the ages of those not affected?". I'd say it's pretty safe to assume that someone working at the same place for 30 years is over 50. This could be an attempt to clear out the older workers to make way for the younger.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
The employer *may* owe the difference for the time worked after "promising" the raise until employee was told that it was a lie. So we might be talking about $160 for two weeks.

An interesting question is "What are the ages of the eight affected?" and "What are the ages of those not affected?". I'd say it's pretty safe to assume that someone working at the same place for 30 years is over 50. This could be an attempt to clear out the older workers to make way for the younger.
Interesting...that might be something for the OP to ponder. Its certainly likely that those who are at the top of the pay scale are those who have been there the longest. However, if there are people over the age of 50 who have only been there a few years and they ARE getting the raise, that would make things murkier.
 

xylene

Senior Member
You work a public sector job, and you don't have a union.

That is the the entire situation.
 

LdiJ

Senior Member
You work a public sector job, and you don't have a union.

That is the the entire situation.
A paramedic job is not necessarily a public sector job. There are lots of emergency service companies that are private companies.
 

Taxing Matters

Overtaxed Member
You work a public sector job, and you don't have a union.
Even if there was a union that might not help much. Some unions are terrible. I was a member once of a government employee union and it was, on the whole, worthless. It protected employees who were lazy and/or incompetent and should have been fired while resisting efforts by the agency to reward the most productive and hard working employees. The only worthwhile thing it ever did while I was there was convince the agency to allow employees to work from home part of the time. And that wasn't worth paying the high union dues for.
 

Just Blue

Senior Member
Even if there was a union that might not help much. Some unions are terrible. I was a member once of a government employee union and it was, on the whole, worthless. It protected employees who were lazy and/or incompetent and should have been fired while resisting efforts by the agency to reward the most productive and hard working employees. The only worthwhile thing it ever did while I was there was convince the agency to allow employees to work from home part of the time. And that wasn't worth paying the high union dues for.
lol...Sounds like General Electric back in the day...
 

Chyvan

Member
I am not even remotely convinced
Be convinced.

https://twc.texas.gov/files/jobseekers/appeals-policy-precedent-manual-voluntary-leaving-twc.pdf
"Appeal No. 452-CA-68. A claimant has good cause to quit a job after the employer assigns her additional responsibilities and promises her a raise and such raise is not forthcoming after a reasonable period of time (in this case, ten months). "

https://www.masslegalservices.org/system/files/library/1200 Rev 10-10.pdf
"
(B) Employer Fails to Grant Promised Wage Increase After attempting to resolve the matter, a claimant leaves work because his or her employer failed to increase wages in accordance with a prior unconditional agreement. Such leaving is with good cause attributable to the employing unit pursuant to §25(e)(1). Form 124 Explanation:

The claimant left his or her work because of your failure to increase his or her wages in accordance with a prior unconditional agreement. Leaving under these circumstances is for good cause attributable to the employing unit. Therefore, the claimant is not subject to disqualification pursuant to the above‐cited section of the Law. "

https://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/aso/section_1600.htm
"An agreement made in the course of employment to increase pay, with the amount and date specified, becomes, in the absence of special circumstances, a condition of the employment which, if not fulfilled, justifies voluntary leaving and subsequent refusal to return without such increase. (Matter of Harris, 42 A.D. 2d 1049; aff'g A.B. 165,156A, A-750-1740) (For an example of "special circumstances", see A-750-1374)"

While New Mexico doesn't have anything like these other states to look it up, this is a well settled concept in UI.
 

commentator

Senior Member
So this person has been with this job 30 years FOR THE SAME COMPANY. It's a specialized job, and unless they're in one of the large cities, it's very unlikely that there are a lot of this type jobs in the general area. They are non unionized, we suspect. They are, I suspect, a private company, not a public sector, or they'd have a lot of worries about doing this particular type of thing because of the possibility of age discrimination accusations. If this is not the case, if this is a federal, state county or city government sponsored job, these employees should contact the EEOC officer for their HR at once and complain. Then quickly, if there's no remedy, talk to an attorney.

But in a private company, it's going to be another and more complicated situation. Husband might, if the age of all those who've been shorted is a factor, discuss the situation with a labor attorney or eventually with the EEOC. BUT, if you are going to do this, keep it strictly quiet. DO NOT share with ANY other employees that you have done anything like this. The EEOC might investigate possible age discrimination in this company, and they would not, as a general thing, tell the company who complained.

How the company usually finds out is that everybody knows Bill Blabber went to an attorney, cause Bill has come in and bragged and mouthed and told everyone who would listen that he was going to......
And then eventually, Bill gets terminated for some other reason, nothing that can be specifically linked to the examination of the complaint or to his having filed the complaint.

But frankly, having discussed this situation with the company, being sure they know you have a problem with this, you have the options of either staying there or quitting the job. And hey, even if you get approved for all the unemployment New Mexico will provide you, it will be SIGNIFICANTLY LESS, I would suspect than you are making right now. It will likely take two to three months of appeals to get the weekly benefits started if they do start. It'll be less than somewhere around $400 a week, for sure, (pre-taxed) and no more than 26 week of benefits, regardless of whether or not you've found another job during that time. And then, of course, what are your chances of finding another job? After 30 years with one company, doing one thing, in one particular place, how easy is it going to be to replace that job at your current salary, even if you didn't get the raise promised? If it's going to be easy, go get it now and work at your old job till you begin the new position.

My suggestion to the husband of the OP is this. Look at the situation. If there's blatant age discrimination to be suspected in this action, talk to a labor attorney ( be sure it's a free consult, tell no one.) Otherwise, be thinking if you want to back up your anger by leaving. Of course your employer's thought is that he doesn't HAVE to pay you guys any more to keep you. His attitude is, "Suck it up." You have the choice, always to quit the job. My advice would be that you make sure you have another place to go before you do that.

Check other opportunities before you quit and take the chance that this is really such a common practice instant approval in unemployment that you can quickly begin receiving unemployment benefits and then just as quickly find another job (in or out of your field) that will pay as much or more than this job you have currently.
 
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