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Is it legal - not give your employees a pay raise for being employed for 5 years and if I should sue for other illegal matters.

New York, NY |

I have been with the same employer now for five years.No pay raise or employee handbook. When someone took them to court 4 denying them unemployment benefits- they wanted to create an "employee hanbook". Which turned out to be wrong, because there was a lot of "Copy & Paste" from another employer. Due to this so called handbook, we recently got paid 4 overtime. They've been in business for over 30 years & claimed they never knew about overtime. I belive I did not get a raise after asking at least 3x's because of my race. While other employees received 2 or 3 pay raises since I been employeed. One youg lady started exactly 3 weeks before me & received 3 raises. Makes $13 more than me. I have a family of 4. She rooms with her sister. I also receive racial remarks from co-workers.

I believe there are a lot of illegal situations where I work. I barely can take care of my family on the salary I receive. They also just fired someone after 20 years. Claimed they are paying everyone out their own pockets. No severce pay and she never takes vacation. She has three vacation weeks left and only got paid for One week and a Half. Please tell me this is not legal. I been there for 5 years and no raise.

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Attorney answers 3

Best Answer

Attorney Forman is correct, although there is if course no law mandating raises except if you are paid so little that a raise in the minimum wage requires you to receive a raise as well.

This answer does not constitute legal advice and you should contact an attorney to confirm or research further any statements made in this answer. Any statements of fact or law I have made in this answer pertain solely to New York State and should not be relied upon in any way in any other jurisdiction. Additionally, we also encourage you to reach out to us via Twitter (!/WhiteRoseGroup) or Facebook ( if you have follow up questions as we do not monitor questions after providing an initial answer.


First, you are probably entitled to be paid for the unpaid overtime you worked since being hired. You should consult the NYS Dep't of Labor or an employment lawyer about your rights. Second, if you think you have been paid less than White employees, you should contact the NYS Division of Human Rights or an employment lawyer.


First, an employer is only required to pay minimum wage. There is no requirement that employees receive regular raises, or any raises at all, so long as they are always paid at least minimum wage.

Second, an employer is not required to have an employee handbook, and doing a copy & paste from another handbook is okay (though it should be conformed to make sense for your workplace). Copying & pasting can also create legal issues if the policies described don't make sense for where you work-- it's not a recommended practice, but it's not inherently improper or illegal.

If you are an hourly worker and work over 40 hours a week, they should be paying overtime. It sounds like you'd have an overtime case based on what you've written.

Also, you might have a claim to discrimination based on race if you have been treated differently on account of your race.

If you want to discuss your situation with me, feel free to give me a call.

Feel free to contact me if you want. Dan Knauth // 212-317-1200. Answers to questions are meant to be general only, are not intended to be legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship. Answers to questions are based on NY law, and the laws of other states may create different rights and obligations.



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