Raises -- legality?

We received an e-mail this morning. Here it is in part:

The end of the fiscal year is always March 30th. For as long as I’ve been with the company, raises were effective April 1st. We didn’t see the raises until May or June, but we were issued a cheque for the retroactive pay back to April 1st. Now the company says that they will not give us our hard-earned raises retroactive to April 1st. They are going to save a buttload of money by making raises effective June 1st.

Is this legal (in California and/or nationwide)? When all employees are expecting April 1st raises, as has been the case for years and years, can the company just come out and say, “Well, we’re not going to do that now. We’re changing it.” without warning?

Raises are privelages…not entitlements.

As long as they are handled/cancelled without bias or prejudice to anyone/group, they can be witheld, changed, cancelled.

Which is why we have such a complicated review process. Whether someone gets a raise or a bonus is not the issue. It just seems bloody unfair that they change the effective date at the last possible minute – or four days after it, rather.

issues you’ve not addressed:

is this a union shop?

is CA a ‘right to work state’?

is there an ‘employee handbook’ in operation.

Generally speaking (and I mean really generally) employers are allowed to do whatever isn’t specifically illegal. In my state (MI), the ‘rules’ for employers in general, are that they must abide by the ‘contracts’ they establish w/their employees (hence the question about unions and employee handbook), but changes to that would be challenged in civil court and wouldn’t be ‘against the law’ in the same sense that stealing is against the law. there’s lots of rules about minors employment (number of hours, time of the day, breaks, types of work etc.) but for adults, nope.

The employer is generally free to alter their rules/procedures, and the employee is generally free to seek employment elsewhere.

(general, general generally)

By qualifying this as “general” do you mean to imply that there are exception cases where employers are allowed to do things that are specificlly illegal? :confused:

no, employers are not allowed to do things that are ‘illegal’. the concept that I was going for was:

  1. of the short list of things specifically ‘not legal’, all employers MUST NOT do them.

  2. of the long list of other things potentially to do, any employer PROBABLY MAY do them.

So, for example, there’s laws about how much clothing some one MUST wear in public (ie in most cases we’re not allowed to show our genetalia in public), and as such, employers generally (see that generally) wouldn’t be allowed to require nudity on the job (strippers obvious exception), but may require that you wear something specific, as in bright pink tu-tus would generally not be prohibited. However, some employee may somewhere successfully argue that while it’s not against the law per se, to wear a pink tu tu, that the weather conditions, safety ramifications (nylon netting can play havoc in machinery), or religious concerns may make that not an option.