March 7, 2023
If you’ve ever had a job promotion that you really desired denied by your employer, you know how badly it can hurt. It’s a serious blow to the ego and the wallet, particularly if you feel you were the most deserving candidate for the position. However, is it ever unlawful to be passed over for a raise at work? The response is no if the employer made a merit-based selection. However, if the decision was based on other factors (such as race, gender, age, military status, etc.), then the procedure may be illegal.
Some signs to look for
Situations where discrimination is a factor in the choice are some unlawful grounds for denying a promotion. Examples of this that are frequently used include
Women in the workplace are all too frequently passed over for promotions. This may occur as a result of outdated gender stereotypes. For example, a company might decide a female employee is the best candidate for a promotion but choose to give it to a man who is less qualified because they believe the woman won’t be able to devote the same amount of time to the position as she would to caring for her family. Pregnancy and gender discrimination are illegal in California under both federal and state law.
Another type of prejudice is reprisal or retaliation. Employees are entitled to a safe working environment. Employees have the right to bring something to their employer’s notice and pursue appropriate legal course if they have decided to contest something that makes them feel unsafe at work. In this instance, it is illegal to reject a promotion based on a prior involvement in an employment law investigation.
What to do next
- Talk to your boss about it.
- Keep your composure
- Make your viewpoint known.
- Ask how can you improve
When you discuss it with your manager, make notes of their answers in case you decide to file a complaint. In the end, speaking with an experienced lawyer should be your next move if you sincerely believe your boss has illegally denied you a promotion at work.