refusing more work unless you get a raise or promotion

This was originally published on November 20, 2012.

A reader writes:

Can and how do I professionally decline additional duties/ responsibilities unless I receive a pay raise or promotion?

Background: I’ve been in the same position for almost 4 years. I’ve been promised multiple pay raises (including to bring me up to industry standard), which have never happened “due to budgetary reasons,” so I am being paid a few cents more than the people who “report” to me though I do not have manager in my title.

In the last 7 months, our management team has dwindled from 4 people running 3 customer service departments and reporting to my boss to 2 (the trainer and the quality assurance person who weren’t supervising any departments), and the trainer has just put in his notice. My boss is already telling him to give me all of his tool access so I can do his job as well but has never spoken to me about it. I am overwhelmed and underpaid. I am not willing to take on this stress unless I receive a pay raise and promotion. How can I decline the additional responsibilities unless I receive a pay raise and promotion without being fired for insubordination?

Well, there are no guarantees that you can. But you can certainly try.

If you simply say, “No, pay me more or I won’t do that,” you’re likely to hear “Sorry, but this is part of the job now” … and the subtext will be “take it or leave it.”

But there’s a better way to go about this — not one that’s guaranteed to work, but one that’s certainly a reasonable and professional way to proceed.

Meet with your boss and say something like this: “I’m concerned about the increasing workload that I’m being asked to handle. Our management team has gone from four people to two, and is about to go to one, and I’m picking up most of that work that used to be handled by other people. My plate is more than full at this point, and it’s a real challenge to juggle everything I’m now responsible for. I can help out on a short-term basis, but this has been the case for months and looks like it will continue and maybe even get worse. It’s a significant amount of stress and responsibility. I’m willing to continue helping out, but I want to revisit my title and my compensation. It’s not feasible for me to continue on with this increased workload at my current level of pay — which is the same pay level I’ve been at for four years, even though I’ve been told I’d receive raises in the past, and then never have. What can we do to get my pay and title up to something that reflects the work I’m doing?”

And be prepared to be asked what salary you want, which means researching and thinking this through beforehand so that you don’t undercut yourself or ask for more than is reasonable.

From there, listen to what your boss says. If she agrees, then great, problem solved … although make sure that the raise really happens this time, by following up your conversation with an email summarizing your agreement and setting a date for the raise to be effective, and then raising it immediately if you don’t see the raise by the time you’re supposed to.

But if she hems and haws, say this: “I understand that you can’t decide this on the spot, but I’m serious about figuring out how to proceed fairly quickly, since this has been going on for a while now. Can I follow up with you in a week?”

If you’re told (either now or when you follow up in a week) that your requests aren’t possible and the work just has to be done, then there’s your answer. Your company is not going to give you a raise or a promotion, and they’re not going to change your workload.

At that point, you need to decide if you want the job as it’s being offered (this salary, this title, this workload) or if you’d rather look for work elsewhere. Meanwhile, though, as long as you stay, you probably do need to do the work you’re being assigned … or at least, you can’t flatly refuse it.

However — and this is important — you can and should say things like, “I can do X, Y, and Z in 40 hours a week” (or 45, or whatever the norm is in your industry, recognizing that in many fields it’s more than 40), “which means that A, B, and C will be on the back burner until I have time to get to them, which may not be for a while.” But that’s a matter of prioritizing your responsibilities — it’s different than saying, “No, I refuse to accept A, B, and C altogether.”

Meanwhile, while you do that, you can certainly be looking for another job … and once you find one, leave and explain why.

{ 64 comments… read them below }

  1. Jerry Vandesic*

    You need to be looking for a new job. Four years of poor management don’t bode well for you being treated well and helping to advance your career. Use the additional responsibility to beef up your resume and show your value to other employers. If and when you do find a new job, do NOT accept a counter offer.

    1. Ruffingit*

      This, so totally this. Get out. You’re not going to get what you want here. There’s no reason for this employer to give you more money, you keep taking on a bunch of work without it. And I don’t blame you, there’s not much you can do beyond asking for more cash. If they won’t give it, they won’t give it. Find someone who will.

    2. S.A.*

      I don’t believe they deserve a reason as to why the OP would be leaving. It should be obvious that lack of compensation is the issue and the work environment just isn’t productive.

      If a manager/supervisor won’t recognize what you’ve done in your position to benefit the company then I say make yourself available to another company. Preferably a competitor. ;-P

  2. Snarkus Ariellius*

    Ah the “budgetary reasons” excuse/explanation.

    Many years ago, I was working for the government, and our salaries were public.  After three years of no raise (not even COLA), I went to my boss and made a strong case for a $5K raise.  He gave me a near perfect performance review (to go along with all the others he’d ever given me), but he turned me down: budgetary reasons.

    Two months later, I was looking at the salaries for our office.  My boss had given a man, in a position equal to mine, a $10K raise — a raise I later found out wasn’t even asked for.  Turns out, my boss wanted to equalize his salary with another coworker on our level who had been making that much.

    My boss lied to my face, which is extra insulting because everyone KNOWS we can see how much we all make!  It was so awkward for me after that, and our relationship was damaged forever.  I never trusted him after that.

    I’m wondering what, if anything, I could have done differently.  Probably nothing, but I bristle when I hear the term “budgetary reasons” because it really is a convenient, plausible excuse for not doing something.

    1. Rayner*

      Gender discrimination? If you were female, and he was male but you were denied a raise, that could have been hairy.

      1. Snarkus Ariellius*

        I thought so too, but both men were in supervisory roles and I was not.  That was the reasoning.  I’d say they didn’t do too much supervising, and I did some of it, but that’s subjective.  I definitely put in more hours of productivity a week than one of them.

        But to bring one salary up just to match someone else’s without regard for success or performance or anything else?  That’s arbitrary.

        I guess if you really want to give someone a raise/cut/no raise, demotion/promotion, individual office/cube, etc., you can always create a reason that fits.

        Like in this letter.

        1. Joey*

          Well usually raises go to those in higher positions first so he could have been truthful by meaning that there was no budget for raises for your job category. Although obviously that’s not the best way to retain employees.

          1. Snarkus Ariellius*

            I forgot to add…

            When I got staff to supervise later that year, I still didn’t get a raise to go with it because of budget cuts. So the parity element there was laughable.

        2. Maggie*

          Not arbitrary, that’s an equity increase which happens all the time, both in public and private sectors. It’s definitely not fair that it nudged you out of something that was likely due to you though.

          I have used the ‘budgetary’ reason before and what I was actually saying in my head was ‘my boss said no because his boss is saving money so that he can push for his own huge bonus at year end. They’re jerks and you should run for the hill if you’re hoping for any kind of advancement here.’ Just so you know.

          1. anon-2*

            Yes, I have heard the “poll parrot” squawk “SQUAWK no money in the budget, no money no money in the budget” many times.

            Usually, if a company treats you the way they have, they are often adhering to a “we will not be moved, dem inmates don’t run da asylum, and we don’t be against ourselves.”

            Lay out your case. Then go looking for another position. Should you get one — bring it back, present it.

            Gauge the reaction. When you give notice – one of two things is gonna happen —

            1) You’re going to immediately enter negotiations.


            2) They will accept your resignation and you then move on to that better job that awaits.

            You have to be prepared for either option, but you also have to “pull the trigger” on a resignation.

            Now – three things to remember.

            Often — quite often — a company will have an “off budget” slush fund to handle these things. In other words – the budget isn’t affected right now, the money is there.

            The other thing – remember the dates of these conversations. It might help to bolster your argument that an increase be retroactive (or in the form of a “stay bonus”, which is a retroactive raise if you come down to it.).

            And finally – if you go that far = “gee whiz we can work toward that” and “maybe next year” are not acceptable talking points.

            1. Mike C.*

              Accepting counter offers is usually a terrible idea for the following reasons:

              1. Outside of pay or other compensation, nothing else is really going to change.
              2. The unreasonable managers are going to see you as disloyal and punish you accordingly if you stay.
              3. There’s a good chance they’ll just keep you on long enough for your other offer to go away and for your replacement to be found. Then you’re quite screwed.

              I do think there is a exception with large companies where the “new job offer” comes from another team internally, but I’d like to hear what others think about this.

              1. Puddleduck O'Leary*

                If you are valuable to the company, they will shell out the money. Giving the employee a raise is usually more cost-effective than hiring, lost productivity, etc.

                1. Ruffingit*

                  They’ll give you the raise, sure. But, as Mike C. says, they will also be resentful as hell most of the time and will look for someone to replace you at a lower salary. It’s not worth it to accept counter-offers for that reason alone though there are others. Alison has written about this before.

              2. anon-2*

                It depends on the circumstances.

                Quite often, when a good, substantive counter-offer is made – it means that your manager has “gone to the wall” for you — and it is an admission, actually an unstated CONFESSION, that you had been deserving and it’s time to reconcile things.

                Plus, if you’re a long-term employee (four years qualifies) — you are establishing your value — and the “dope slap” to management ensures that they won’t mess with you again. Especially if a “stay bonus” — which is a retroactive raise — is incluced.

                And the strategy is a good one — sometimes — especially in companies that pig-headedly have a policy of “no negotiations cuz we don’t bid against ourselves.”

                Also – there’s often “don’t – don’t ever – NOOO” — but these statements usually are issued by recruiters who stand to get zero for their efforts, while the “recruitee” gets taken care of.

                There was an interesting article in Forbes —


                And… our own AAM is quoted, giving the closing note of caution to using this strategy.

                The legitimacy of accepting a counter – the PRAGMATIC legitimacy – is that you’re continuing up the ladder at your current company – and you won’t have to start off on a new ladder where the footing may be unsure for a newcomer.

  3. Bryan*

    This happened to a former coworker. Each time someone quit she got most of their duties. This was mostly done I think so the VP could say he cut costs and would get a bigger bonus. Eventually she said she couldn’t handle any additional responsibilities without something getting dropped and they fired her. I agree that if the situation is they just keep dumping more on your plate start looking.

      1. Ruffingit*

        Me too, that really stinks. Work people until they’re ready to drop and then fire them when they say they can’t carry another weight. I hope whomever fired her burns in hell. Geeze.

        1. MM*

          Companies get hard workers, dump on them; dump some more until they scream than wonder why they quit; or punish them when things do not go as they hope.

          I had a contract job where I was part-time replacing an individual that was full-time. It was hinted … that they wanted me to work additional hours without pay in order to complete everything, that a permanent job might come out of it. I was doing payroll for a manufacturing plant. I had a feeling that they would be quite dishonet with me after the stunt they pulled on my first day. I was supposed to work 4 days a week and Sunday to meet Monday deadline. They tried to tell me I was supposed to work Saturday & Sunday. I called my staffing agent and he said they hadn’t mentioned it to him, he was surprised. They are supposed to buy more if you give up an entire weekend. Than they tried to have me do document control for the engineering division. I said I had to talk to my staffing recruiter because it was out of the scope of my job contract; and they would have to adjust my pay. I was getting paid diddly; and they kept adding to my duties; than get mad if I couldn’t do it all. The place had a lot of layoffs — I wasn’t going get anything permanent. This was a position for when production was on … so I wasn’t going give them free labor, or a higher level of work beyond my contract without proper compensation. The other admin I worked with could have done more; but ran her mouth all day.

  4. Adam*

    I guess it all comes down to how committed are you to this job. It doesn’t sound like this is something you do because you really love it, so I don’t see the harm in looking for something else. It’s completely fair to consider whether or not the organization you’re currently at is serving your needs to your satisfaction, and on the compensation/workload ratio for you it doesn’t sound like this one ever has.

  5. A non*

    I’d love to hear an update from the OP on what happened in this case! OP, are you out there somewhere?

  6. Rebecca*

    Start looking for another job. I’ve been saddled with another workers responsibilities, and I’m juggling too. I laid out my concerns, much like Alison suggested, only to be told I need to reach out to my coworkers for help if they have time. They don’t always have time, and my work is suffering, and I’m basically frantic.

    Same excuses – budget, no raises for anyone, be glad you have a job, blah blah blah. Whatever.

    I took a half day off today, working on my resume (my daughter is helping me!) and as far as I’m concerned, my company can find someone else to do two people’s jobs for one a one person pay scale. Meanwhile, I have to suck it up and do what I can.

    1. Elizabeth West*

      I laid out my concerns, much like Alison suggested, only to be told I need to reach out to my coworkers for help if they have time.

      That’s the same thing I was told once. It was ridiculous because my coworkers were even busier than I was. They could have given my backup a few more hours a week to help, but then he would have been full-time and they didn’t want to pay benefits for that position.

  7. Jackie*

    I was in a similar position. Two full timers and a part timer were let go and I got all their accounts. I was told to do what work I could and that mistakes could be fixed. End of conversation.

  8. Leah*

    (I typed this all and then remembered its an old post. The advice still stands.)

    Create (as best you can) a timeline of: 1) when and how your duties changed 2) when you were promised a raise or promotion. Continue to document when you have conversations with people and what was said.

    This can make a clearer case when you ask for a raise and if you need to file for unemployment and the company contests it. Many states allow UI for people who were told “quit or you’re fired” or quitting because of an unreasonable change in working conditions. The fact that you stayed despite the changes can work for you because it demonstrates that you attempted to adapt to the changes. To be clear, I don’t know enough about your situation or your state’s laws to say this is an option you can rely on. It’s also a last resort, so best luck in working things out.

    1. MM*

      Document by sending an email to your personal e-mail address so you have a date and time stamp. Document and document so that you have protection for unemployment insurance.

  9. Computer Programmer*

    Was stuck in same situation. I’d taken on 80% of the workload of 2 full-time co-workers that left (1 quit and the other was fired) in additional to my duties. After keeping 95% of my former work and making a case for a raise, the boss kept brushing it off and we were in a “cash crunch”, etc. So I asked to have this reviewed in 3 months, then asked in another 3 months after “we are having a bad financial year”, etc.

    Then I discovered that a recent hire who has 1 year experience and who spends almost all day blogging, bidding and selling stuff on Ebay, and then brags openly about getting away with it makes $10K more than me and was hired during the time we were in a “cash crunch”.

    I immediately started looking and landed a great job offer. When I gave notice they offered me a substantial raise and told me how valuable I was, etc. Too late. My new boss and coworkers are good and the pay is competitive with the market.

    1. Lizzy*

      I love hearing stories like these. Glad you are enjoying the new job and that the employer at your old job was too late to realize they lost a good employee.

    2. Artemesia*

      This is such a common story. What they mean when they say there is no money for raises is ‘there is no money for you’ because we know you are stuck and not going anywhere. So happy to read that you figured this out and moved on. I have worked in places where the pay disparities were huge; they pay those they need to pay and someone who has absorbed extra work for years and stuck with it is not perceived as someone they ‘need to pay.’ There is also often a sexist element here. The new young web surfer, male, makes more than the female drudge who has been there for years getting the job done.

      1. MM*

        There is also studies that prove that employers are less apt to give raises to individuals that have families, homes and spouses. If you are tired locally by family ties and property you are less apt to leave is their view. You’ll be paid less than someone recruited outside the agency.

        1. Windchime*

          I used to live and work in a town that was geographically isolated. It is over between 2.5 and 3 hours to the two nearest cities of any size. My then-boss actually said at the time, “Where are they going to go?” when I would mention concerns of co-workers leaving for other jobs. Pay was below market and upper management was severely disorganized.

          I’ve been gone for several years now, and apparently things are worse and the department is hemorrhaging employees. He found out where people go: Seattle, Spokane, the local fire department–one guy even found a sweet gig working totally from home. So yeah. There are places to go, Mr. Ex-Boss.

  10. Anon #0155*

    How do we refuse individual tasks that are unreasonable? For example, what if a librarian were asked to clean the outside of windows that can’t be opened on the second floor in 110-degree weather?

    1. Adam V*

      That’s when you go back and say “these tasks are significantly outside my normal responsibilities. Is there someone else who they’d be a better fit for? If not, I’d like to revisit my compensation, because I’d be handling two very different jobs (administrative and custodial).”

      1. Anon #0155*

        If I get fired for asking something like that, would I just remove the job from my resume and get on with my life? How would I explain the gap to future employers?

        1. Adam V*

          If you get fired for asking about pay, it’s a crappy employer, and you should be able to say “I was fired for asking for additional pay after my responsibilities began to include some very different challenges”. When they ask, and find out what they were asking you to tack on, they’ll probably laugh and say “yes, I’d probably balk at doing that without a raise too”.

          They’re much more likely to say “sorry, there’s no money in the budget for it right now,” rather than firing you, though. If they fired you, they’d have to replace *two* jobs, because it’s highly unlikely they’d get anyone else to agree to do both for the same pay. If they just tell you “no money”, you kick your job search into high gear.

    2. Anne 3*

      I’d bring it up as a safety issue, too. Presumably you aren’t trained/don’t have the proper equipment to do this task. And what about the insurance coverage – I don’t know how this works where you live, but are you sure the employer’s insurance covers you if you fall from that high up, doing a task you weren’t hired for?

  11. Tiff*

    In my mind, “I can’t do this because it’s too much work.” is very different than, “I WON’T do this because you’re not compensating me to do the work.” Too much work is a weak argument for a pay and title bump. In that case advocate for additional staff. Increased responsibility is a much better argument, but somehow I suspect that they will continue to downplay your contribution because acknowledging it would strengthen your position.

    In any case, I think that any employer willing to work that way is most likely going to rebuff your request. The only conversation I’d be willing to have with them at that point would be about prioritizing the new responsibilities. Then I’d get to work, but add those new responsibilities to your resume. If you figure out some efficiencies in completing the work that’s just another skill to add to the resume as well. Bottom line though: put it on your resume so that you can be compensated for it at the next gig. This one is not going to pay you.

  12. anonymous*

    i’m having a similar situation and hopefully it get’s featured on the front page (i sent it in a few weeks ago), but here is a quick and dirty version.

    I was being asked to take on additional responsibilities because a co-worker who has a better title is going on maternity leave (most likely not coming back) and they need someone with enough skills to pick up the slack. I politely refused and a few weeks later they came back to me promising a raise that came with a promotion, only after dealing with a few corporate hurdles, which i did in a timely manner. Now it turns out corporate (or the DM if what i’ve been lead to believe is true; this is in the retail world, by the way) said that he didn’t like that i was in it for the money, and refused to issue the raise. The store manager said they’d still have me take on the additional responsibilities even at my behest at telling him not to put me down for those shifts. He agreed not to, but still I am taking on these additional responsibilities too frequently to be coincidence. They’ve also done the same thing to a few other employees, some of whom got the same treatment but shockingly without a promise of a raise. Now this is sounding more and more like occupational fraud and I’d like to see it put to an end, but the thought that it’s coming corporate side makes it harder to report it to HR (seeing as their solution would be to get rid of the problem: me). I’ve begun the process of reporting them to the SEC (who knows how much profit they’ve been making or how it’s reflecting on their stock because of practices like this), but are there any other agencies i can report this corporation to?

    1. Editor*

      Why do you think this is a matter for the SEC? You’re being asked “to do other duties as required,” which is legal although it can be limited by a union contract. There’s no fraudulent profit being generated through illegal acts.

      Unless the company isn’t paying taxes properly or asking unlicensed people to work reserved for licensed people (such as a cashier doing a pharmacist’s work) or requiring people to be at work or do work while not paying them, I don’t see any fraud — just really annoying practices that still are legal.

    2. Editor*

      Here’s a definition and some examples of occupational fraud, which don’t seem to relate to your situation:

      First, let me explain what we mean by occupational fraud. This refers to any fraud scheme that involves an employee defrauding the organization that he or she works for. Distinct from things like identity theft or credit card fraud, this deals with what we would consider in the business world to be ‘internal’ fraud.

      For example, an employee who pads their time sheet is engaging in occupational fraud. So is the individual who skims cash from the register or steals product from the warehouse. The employee who fraudulently alters financial statements falls under this category, as does an individual who is taking kickbacks from a vendor. …

      1. anonymous*

        in response to your last two posts,

        the position i’m not supposed to be doing is supervisory in nature (it has the word supervisor in the title, after all). Yet they still have me doing it (the title is not in my job description nor the duties entailed to it). If this sort of practice is coming from higher ups in corporate (most likely in secret), then the probability of them doing something else that violates workplace ethics (or business ethics for that matter), be it legal or illegal could be prominent as well. It’s just a matter of a third party doing the investigating for things to come to light.

        While that also falls under occupational fraud, that is not it’s only definition. This is, too:

        “Employment fraud, or occupational fraud, is the scamming of people seeking or performing employment, giving them the false hope of earning wages of which they are often desperately in need. There are numerous methods that perpetrators of such schemes use to lure victims. These include promises such as easy hire, easy work, high wages for unskilled labor, flexible hours, a small number of hours paired with a lot of free time, or other attractive offers.”

        1. Ask a Manager* Post author

          What you’re describing is not fraud. It’s just not — I understand that you want it to be, but it’s not. If you doubt this, spend 10 minutes with an employment lawyer, who will tell you the same.

          What you describe is 100% legal. These are now the terms of your job, which your employer can change at any time (assuming you don’t have a contract stating otherwise, which most U.S. workers don’t).

          You can decide if you still want the job on these terms or not, but there’s nothing illegal going on, based on what you’ve described. This is very, very legal and very, very normal.

    3. Ruffingit*

      I am really confused by this. They’re giving you additional work responsibilities, but refusing to pay you for them and you’re reporting them to the SEC? For what? They are not obligated legally or otherwise to pay you for those additional responsibilities. They SHOULD, but they don’t have to. There is nothing illegal here unless you’re leaving something out of the story.

      1. anonymous*

        It’s not only that they are refusing to pay, it’s that i was promised a wage increase along with the promotion. They failed to follow up on that and have done the similar to other employees; one of whom (the one on maternity leave) was just forced into it and didn’t even know if they could ask for a raise (most of the people i work with are good people, but simple-minded at best). I agree, the SEC is one of the most extreme measures i could take; but sometimes you have to go to extremes in cases like this. Who knows, if they launch an investigation there might be more wrongdoings that i was unaware of. If the posting makes it onto the front page you’ll get more info, but to make things short i’ll just say my father is a journalist so i grew up listening to things like this happening all the time. Just because I was wronged doesn’t mean I will just walk away.

        1. Ruffingit*

          Thing is though, unless you were promised that wage increase in the form of a contract, it’s not likely illegal to promise it and not deliver. It’s crappy, but not illegal. I’m still not getting why the SEC would care about this. What complaint exactly are you making to them?

          I was a journalist myself and have heard a ton of wrongdoing at work stories, but unfortunately not every wrongdoing at work issue can be fought via governmental organizations. Sometimes you have to walk away because what is being done is shitty, but not illegal.

          Since you’ve brought this story up, why not fill in the details? Alison may or may not choose it to run, but it’s hard to understand this since it would seem you’re only giving some of the details.

        2. hotdogs*

          Why aren’t you taking this up with Dept of Labor (or your state’s equivalent)? It doesn’t make any sense to bring this to the SEC; they don’t do labor relations. Something smells bogus about this story.

          1. Ruffingit*

            That is what I’m not getting. The SEC has no interest in this sort of thing. They deal with securities. They are not going to investigate some employer who promises to pay more, but doesn’t. And frankly, the DOL might not even care about that either. As I said, it’s crappy, but not likely illegal unless something major is being left out of this story.

            1. anonymous*

              in response to the past few inquires,

              I’m contacting the SEC in hopes that they can run a deeper investigation into how the corporate side is setting it’s stock price. Stock represents a claim on the company’s assets and earnings. So when a company reports it makes X amount a quarter, it reflects on their stock price.

              If the stock is found to be padded by the earnings that were promised to employees like me and the others i know affected by this practice of promising higher wages/promotions and never following through (less employees to pay=higher earnings), shareholders would throw a fit and either dump their shares or call for rapid reform of corporate layout.

              Yes, like i said, it sounds ridiculous and i know it’s extreme, but that may be the key to the bigger picture and getting a thorough investigation could yield even scarier results. I could walk away but if I happened to hit the nail on the head, as a journalist you should know what kind of whale this story would be.

              The DOL is another agency I will be reporting to and will most likely yield more immediate results, but if i could be beneficial in getting corporate reform away from this slave labor lifestyle, it would be beneficial to everyone involved.

              1. MK*

                I think what the other commenters are trying to say is that the SEC is unlikely to start this “deeper investigation”, if all you are reporting is the information you have given here. Unless you have some more concrete evidence that the practice you are describing (which sounds a bit far-fetched to me, but I don’t know anything about occupational fraud, so you could be right) or some other , will the SEC feel justified in launching a full-scale investigation into the company’s finances?

                Look at it this way: suppose you have a neighbor that has a more luxurious lifestyle than their salary should cover and whose company is not turning the expected profit. Is it a possibility that the neighbor is somehow defrauding/stealing from the company? Sure. But doubt the police would start an investigation solely on this information.

                1. anonymous*

                  like i said, it’s an extreme measure. But if it draws attention to the bigger picture, so be it.

              2. Ruffingit*

                This story is not likely to be the whale you’re searching for. This is a crappy employment practice, but not likely illegal and even if it was, the SEC would not be the place to go with this. If you feel the need to pursue this, go ahead, but based on the facts you’ve given, you’re going to look very naive when you take this to the SEC. That said, it appears you’re determined to do so. There’s really nothing more I can say except good luck.

              3. Ask a Manager* Post author

                The SEC will not care. Shareholders will not care. The DOL will not care, not unless you have a raise offer in writing that wasn’t met.

                Frankly, you will look like a crazy person — there are many deluded people who send random agencies letters about situations they’re unhappy with, which are perfectly legal. This is going to look like one of these.

                If you really want to explore this, talk to an employment lawyer. The lawyer will explain to you that this is all legal, but that’s the appropriate venue to take it to, not the SEC.

                1. Ruffingit*

                  Thank you. This is exactly what I, and some of the other posters, was trying to get at. I didn’t want to come right out and say “You are deluded,” but I think it needed to be said.

                2. anonymous*

                  “a raise offer in writing”

                  oh, i have one of those too. Doesn’t change the fact that if there are secret practices like these going on, then even shadier secret practices are most likely going on corporate side.

                  Of course people can label me crazy, but then again, there are people who have sued places like starbucks for even crazier stuff (warning! coffee is hot!) and won. If this actually goes through, i’ll be sure to link all the juicy media tidbits here so you can all say “wait a minute. I know that guy”.

                  But, like i said, i know it’s an extreme measure. There is no harm in trying, though.

              4. Artemesia*

                This is hopelessly off base. The SEC does not care. Nothing you have described relates to anything the SEC does. My husband was the SEC equivalent at the state level and prosecuted securities fraud and such for years. They are not interested in investigating companies for ‘deeper possible problems’ because they are bad managers or are not paying their employees what was promised them.

                Your company sucks. You should definitely find another place to work. But what they are doing is not an SEC violation and you will look foolish pursuing this.

                1. Ruffingit*

                  Exactly. This person sounds young and naive. Pursuing this is going to make them look completely and totally foolish. But you can’t explain that to some people, they have to hit the brick wall to realize it hurts and I suspect this poster is one of those.

      2. MM*

        The SEC … the writer is either leaving something out …. like they are signing off on financial stuff when they are licensed to … or are going for a cannon when a handgun would serve the purpose. You do not like the additional responsibly, you start job searching. But do as a good of a job of the new duties so you can add them to your resume. If you’re learning something new that will help you with your job search; learn all you can from them.

        1. Formerlyanonimus*

          So an update on the whole raise thing: as of writing this I no longer work at the company as I have moved to another part of the state. As it turns out, after reporting them to the EDD and the SEC, there was an investigation and corporate fired the store manager, the district manager, and the regional manager for “undisclosed illegal activities”. They ended up shuffling around some other shady people and when the new guy came in, I asked him for a raise. He was an okay guy and straight up told me no because he knew my story and corporate is in deep doodoo because of my inquiry with those two separate agencies. So much doodoo that they had to force a stock split and sell off a lot of their shares before to cover legal fees. He basically told me I was the reason he got transferred from corporate to be an interim. The company is going downhill and their stock split didn’t go so well haha.

          So like I said, I’d follow up. You don’t have to be quiet. Speak up to the appropriate agency. Make your voice heard and if there are people whose job it is to make things right then it will happen.

  13. Julie*

    Alison, When you run letters from the past, do you contact the letter writers again to let them know? If not, would you consider it? It might give us a better chance of getting an update from the OP.

  14. nathan*

    Hi can someone help me I work in retail as a retail assistant job role cashier put stock out etc.
    I was helping work out being a supervisor once a week locking up can I refuse to do this role now due to them telling me that i’ve worked in the role as a supervisor for a year now there saying I have to keep doing the role no pay rise i’m on £6.75 but the supervisor wage is £ 6.90.
    They told me there solicitor in working law told me I have no case of rejecting this because I have been doing this for a year my contract just states the above role and pay.
    We have stocktakes with rota stating the hours we work on stocktake we suppose to finish at 10.30 but they told us we have to stay till its finished we finished at 11.30pm told us if we don’t do it we will be disciplined can we refuse contract states stocktake will be often if stockloss but nothing about staying over to finish. thanks can u help

  15. nathan*

    Hi i hope someone can help me i’m working in a freezer supermarket as a retail assistant but now i am being made to do the supervisor job and not getting paid for this.
    I’m working on nights next week not asked and i’m locking the store and being the keyholder again not been asked no extra pay neither. my area manager told me that if i don’t want to do this i don’t have to be the keyholder and lock the store.
    Can i refuse to do this and the new manger is now saying iv’e got to be flexible on my work days which i worked mon-friday saturday sunday off now shes making me to do saturdays which i have never worked saturdays in 9 years working there.
    can i refuse to do saturdays due to contract states 5 days and 26 hrs contract hours. if can i walk if not getting paid doing the supervisor job thanks

  16. Experienced*

    No, don’t explain why when you get a new job. If you’ve followed the rest of the advice given, you’ve already explained why you’re leaving in your previous conversations. Your boss should be smart enough to put 2 and 2 together; if they’re not, they don’t deserve their position.

    Re-hashing the reasons you’re leaving in an exit interview will just leave a bad impression with your soon-to-be former employer, risking a bad reference when someone calls looking for one. Instead, just say something like “I found a great opportunity. I learned a lot here, thank you.”

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