New York, NY asked in Contracts and Employment Law for New York

Q: My employer gave us a project that superseded our job description & paygrade, but won't pay us more. Is this bad faith?

My company promotes itself widely and publicly as "living its values," which include accountability, respect and trust and of course DEI. After not getting a bonus, I sought equal pay for the work -- touting those values. I was rebuffed and told it was "skill-building." When I asserted that I've received awards for those skills - the Head of HR acknowledged (in writing) that the project 1) "became more complex" than our regular job function, 2) was a situation in which spot bonuses would be "requested and approved" 3) but due to circumstances with the project (not related to our performance) it was "reasonably decided that it wasn't the right opportunity." Opportunity for whom?? This seems self-serving.

There's no clear protected class violations here -- but as the company gets publicly listed as a "great place to work" (in two national publications) and do press about their commitment to their values -- is this a violation of good faith & fair dealing with us?

Related Topics:
1 Lawyer Answer
V. Jonas Urba
V. Jonas Urba
  • New York, NY
  • Licensed in New York

A: Are you referring to a collective bargaining agreement? Such agreements should protect all covered employees. And those agreements must be followed as drafted, reasonably interpreted and fairly applied to all covered employees. A breach of a duty of fair representation aka a DFR claim might be appropriate with the NLRB or National Labor Relations Board.

Maybe another employment agreement applies as well. Breach of private employment agreement?

You mention equal pay for the work. Are you suggesting that one or more protected classes of employees are being denied the pay awarded to employees of other classes who are preferred? That may be discriminatory. If gender or race or color or other protected classes of workers are affected in the terms or conditions of their work because of membership in such classes that may be a discriminatory pay practice.

If the employer is paying prevailing wages and treating all classes of employees similarly poorly that might be ok? Saving money is not illegal. Call some employment lawyers to either confirm an illegal or discriminatory pay practice, file a complaint with the NLRB, or seek counsel on a possible discrimination complaint or breach of contract if facts support same.

Tim Akpinar agrees with this answer

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.