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by Vault Careers | March 31, 2009


Q. Is it legal to give hourly employees reviews more frequently than salaried personnel?

I work for a nationwide industrial company that seems to have no set timeframes for performance reviews and pay increases for salaried employees. Yet the company has very strict wages and review periods for hourly employees. Salaried employees' wages and benefits vary vastly across the country; they seem to hinge on individual negotiations between local managers and personnel. I have watched hourly employees get regular reviews and wage increases while salaried personnel in the same location were completely overlooked for three and four years at a time. Is this legal? Is this discrimination?

A. The government only requires an employer to pay its employees the minimum wage. An employer is not legally obligated to offer annual merit increases or cost-of-living adjustments. Hourly employees, who are sometimes unionized, may have a contractual agreement with an employer that may require an employer to deliver merit and cost-of-living increases to its members.

It is unfortunate that your company does not see fit to reward its employees for their work. However, such increases are considered voluntary, and based on your description, do not appear discriminatory.

Erisa Ojimba has worked in the human resources field for more than five years. Her compensation experience comes from employment in the healthcare and manufacturing industries, as well as from her work as an independent consultant. In addition to her compensation experience, Ojimba has held an HR generalist role, giving her a broad view of all areas of human resources management. Ojimba earned a B.A. from the University of Michigan, did graduate work at Cornell University, and earned a master's degree from the University of Georgia.


Filed Under: Workplace Issues