Wrongfully Denied Promotions or Raises
Wrongfully Denied Promotions or Raises
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Have you been wrongfully denied a raise or a promotion at Amazon?
Have you been wrongfully denied a raise at Amazon that others have received?
Have other Amazon workers with less experience been promoted over you?
Do you think you’re the victim of illegal discrimination?
If so, here are some things to consider when deciding whether to seek help from a lawyer.
Why didn’t you get the raise you asked for?
According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR),
companies generally do a poor job of communicating why people don’t get raises. Second, there are significant racial gaps in whose raise requests are approved and whose are not.
According to a study reported by the HBR,
33% of employees who were denied a raise were provided no rationale. Of those who did receive some rationale (whether budgetary constraints, performance, or some other reason), just over 25% actually believed it.
men of color are 25% less likely to receive a raise when they ask for one, compared with their white male peers. Women of color are 19% less likely, compared with white men.
Thus, if you think you were turned down for a raise for illegal reasons, there’s a good chance you’re right.
Laws against discrimination
As the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) explains, Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employment discrimination based on:
In addition, says the EEOC,
The law also protects you from retaliation if you complain about discrimination, participate in an employment discrimination proceeding (for example, a discrimination investigation or lawsuit), or reasonably oppose discrimination (for example, resisting unwanted sexual advances or helping protect co-workers from unwanted sexual advances).
Both federal and state laws prohibit discrimination in relation to:
Questions to ask when you’ve been denied a raise
You don’t just have to take “no” for an answer.
CNBC suggests asking your supervisor the following questions:
1. Try to find out why (allegedly) you didn’t get the raise. If it’s for some untrue “reason,” such as failing to meet a specific goal, you can show that you did meet it. Or you may be able to produce emails or performance reviews showing that you did a good job.
2. Ask about variable pay – could you get a bonus tied to meeting targets or completing a special project?
3. Ask about other benefits you might get, such as more time off, more flexible hours, training or education, or the ability to work from home (if you aren’t already).
You can also ask your co-workers whether they got raises, and what percentage. By the way, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) makes it unlawful for employers to prohibit you from discussing salary with other employees.
Retention Raises and Disparate Impact
As the National Law Review (NLR) notes,
Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a facially neutral employment policy may have an unlawful “disparate impact” if its effects are disproportionately felt by members of a specific sex, race, color, religion, or national origin.
In a recent case, as the NLR reports,
Plaintiff Jennifer Freyd is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon. She filed her complaint in court alleging that the University was paying her substantially less – up to $42,000 annually – than four of her male colleagues of equivalent rank and seniority. Freyd’s suit included several causes of action, including a claim under Title VII that the University’s policy had a disproportionate impact on the basis of sex.
In 2016, Freyd’s department conducted a self-study in which it observed that the differential in pay between male and female faculty members was likely the result of “retention raises.” The University had a practice of negotiating a higher salary for professors who were being courted by outside institutions. …
Freyd maintained that out of 20 recent retention negotiations within the department, only four involved female faculty members. Of those four, only one negotiation was successful. …
In essence, Freyd claimed that, for reasons related to gender, female faculty members were less likely to seek, receive, or consider outside offers. Consequently, Freyd alleged that the University’s retention negotiation policy disproportionately favored male faculty members, putting female faculty members at a relative disadvantage.
Are certain people in your department getting retention raises or bonuses because they’re getting – or claim they’re getting – better offers from other companies?
Wrongful denials of raises and promotions at Amazon
Business Insider describes Amazon’s promotion system as “brutal”:
Amazon’s managers group employees into three tiers: The top 20%, who are groomed for promotions, the next 70% who are kept happy, and the bottom 10%, who are either let go, or told to get it together….
“Ambitious employees tend to spend months having lunch and coffee with their boss’s peers to ensure a positive outcome once the topic of their proposed promotion is raised…”
The New York Times reported,
Amazon intentionally limited upward mobility for hourly workers, said Mr. Niekerk, the former H.R. vice president who retired in 2016 after nearly 17 years at the company. Dave Clark, then head of operations, had shot down his proposal around 2014 to create more leadership roles for hourly employees, similar to noncommissioned officers in the military, he recalled.
NJ.com reported that
A Black Amazon warehouse employee claimed in a lawsuit he was passed up for a promotion and his immediate supervisors at the East Windsor facility where he worked used a racist remark to describe him.
Denard Norton, an East Orange resident, filed suit against Amazon and his supervisors on Oct. 15 in Superior Court of Essex County. He claims his coworker, Zouhair Bennani, was promoted to manager even after he was formally reported to corporate for saying the n-word around Norton.
Vox reported on racial discrimination and retaliation lawsuits against Amazon:
The plaintiffs, who are all women of color, claim they’ve experienced both explicit racism at work — like being called the n-word by a manager — and systemic racism that they say is reflected in the company’s alleged lower promotion rates and higher termination rates for underrepresented minorities. Thomas’s suit stands out because she works for the company’s HR department — which is supposed to not only hire and fire employees but also make sure they feel safe and satisfied at work.
What can you do if you’ve been wrongfully denied a raise or promotion at Amazon?
If you’ve been wrongfully denied a raise or promotion at Amazon, call attorney Cj Rosenbaum at 212-256-1109, text 212-256-8492, or email CJ@AmazonSellersLawyer.com. You can also submit a summary of your situationonline .
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