I was promised a raise for doing a lot more work … and it didn’t come through

A reader writes:

I’m feeling bamboozled by how my compensation situation has shaken out. I am a non-exempt salaried employee and have been the entire time this all went down.

I joined my current company almost two years ago at a salary that was slightly below market for my level of experience and competency. At the time, I was fine with this because the workload and stress would be so much lower compared to previous jobs that it balanced out. The role I was hired for was exclusively wholesale. Then two things happened:

1. Last spring, we got a new department head who managed to make everyone’s job significantly harder and more complex through their micromanagement, control issues, and god complex. Their presence has directly led to the departure of several senior members across different departments because the new culture was no longer something they wanted to deal with. The rest of us are hanging on by a microscopically thin thread.

2. Last summer, my direct business counterpart departed for greener pastures. I was asked to take on their portion of the business as well and cover the whole distribution region. I agreed on the condition that my pay, title, and job description be updated to reflect this change. Leadership in my department agreed and confirmed the timing would be this spring when appraisal season rolls around. The company only does them once a year so I agreed to this timeline and began working both portions.

The workload was challenging and I had very little help due to the lean structure of the team. While I got work on some really cool projects, the light at the end of the tunnel was that I had been assured that I would eventually be properly compensated for this massive undertaking.

Come appraisal and raise season, I am offered a whopping single-digit percent increase and single-digit percent bonus on my salary as a reward for double the workload, demands on my time, and stress level. (Actually, it’s currently tripled because another counterpart left in the fall and that role still hasn’t been backfilled.) No title change and no updated job description either. Needless to say, I was enraged, disappointed, and demoralized by the final number. A single digit percent is a merit increase for someone who does only their job and does it above average. Not only did I get an “exceeds expectations” rating in my assessment, I did it alone. Not to mention, inflation alone in my current area is 6.1% from when I was originally hired. Most importantly, this is not what I agreed to.

I immediately requested a meeting with HR to discuss this. I calmly and professionally made my case and explained that either I receive an updated salary and title and job description or I go back to my original scope of work. Turns out HR was not informed of my agreement with leadership. HR was also not happy to find out I did not receive an updated job description from this agreement either. They assured me that my concerns would be addressed as part of a larger conversation with the department head about the structure and workload for our team. I don’t have a clear timeline for when this will happen or what that means for me as an individual employee.

Based on what I know about the company’s headcount and my conversation with HR, what will most likely happen is that I will be put back on my original scope of work and the direct business will shift to someone else or a new hire.

Do I have any recourse here, legally? Sure, they could put me back on the original scope of work with this slightly increased salary but what legal right do I have for compensation for the eight months I spent doing double and sometimes triple the work? What about leadership agreeing to my conditions for taking on extra work, even if HR didn’t know of it? My feelings of demoralization aside, is this illegal or just really awful?

I know either way, this isn’t sustainable long-term for me, but I am feeling like an absolute clown who was bamboozled into working like a dog for free with no options but to take it or leave it. Are those really my choices?

This hinges entirely on what the agreement with your department leadership looked like. Do you have something in writing saying “we will increase your salary to $X in April 2024”? Or was it more like “we’ll revisit your salary in the spring and make sure you’re paid appropriately”? If they committed to a specific number — and, crucially, if they used language like “will increase,” not “may increase” or “will consider increasing” — then they’re probably legally bound to that. That’s true even if HR didn’t approve it since it was a commitment from your company leadership.

But if they didn’t commit to a specific figure, just to “a raise” … well, then they met their obligations to the letter, if not the spirit.

If we could go back in time, I’d strongly advise you to get a specific number or range in writing. If you don’t have that, you’re unfortunately at the mercy of whatever they judge reasonable now. They can say, “We promised you a raise and you’ve received one” and that will be true.

Spelling this out a little more: the law doesn’t require an employer to pay you more for taking on more responsibility or more stress or even a whole other job. It does require them to pay you for all the hours you worked since you’re non-exempt; has that been happening (including time and a half for all hours over 40 in a week)? If that didn’t happen, you have a very solid wage claim for that missing pay. But there are no legal grounds beyond that unless they committed to a specific figure or range that they’re not now providing.

Similar things are true about your title and updated job description, although it’s even hazier there. If you have a written agreement that says “if you do XYZ, we will change your title to __ in April 2024,” you might have grounds to push that — but there’s a lot of room for them to say they expected XYZ to have been performed at a higher level or otherwise weasel out of it if they want to (to be clear, that would be very weaselly, unless you really didn’t meet the role’s expectations).

So, what can you do if there was no clear agreement with specific numbers attached? First and foremost, you should try pushing back. If you can cite specific conversations about a different figure, or past precedent you were relying on, or notes that you made at the time, or anything else to support your case, you should cite that. If you’re willing to leave over this, you can make that clear (or at least heavily hint at it). But ultimately, this will be about what you can negotiate. Absent a clear and specific agreement, the law wouldn’t require them to do anything different.

Second, you can talk. Tell your coworkers what happened. This won’t help you, but it could save someone else in your company from making the same mistake, and it’s a way of flexing some power that your company probably won’t like (and which is legally protected too).

{ 158 comments… read them below }

  1. Snow Globe*

    I would start looking for another job. Because best case scenario, even if they come through for you, it’s only because you pushed back and went to HR. They had every intention of giving you a nominal raise and not changing your title. That tells you what kind of management you are dealing with.

    1. Antilles*

      Also, even in that best case scenario where HR successfully pushes them into holding to the agreement, I wouldn’t put it past management to hold a grudge for you using HR to force their hand.

    2. Princess Pumpkin Spice*

      I agree. And I would be fearful a company like this would reduce my next raise (or two) to compensate for this increase. I’d continue to push back on this… while also cleaning up my resume and making an effort to GTFO.

    3. Goldenrod*

      “I would start looking for another job.”

      I agree. I know that’s easier said than done, and probably not what you want to hear. But your current management 1) has proven they can’t be trusted and will not act in good faith, and 2) has created a stressful and toxic atmosphere that is causing people to quit in droves.

      Even if they come through with the raise and promotion, do you really want to work so hard to force them to do the right thing, only to still be working in that crappy atmosphere? For those jerks?

      When you consider all the factors, I’m guessing it would likely be less work and aggravation overall to find a new job, with employers who are more trustworthy and coworkers who are happier.

      1. Irnedonce*

        This is why, after once being burned on almost the exact same scenario – the CEO left and I was asked to take on their responsibilities for a bit higher pay and extra vacation – the pain never materialize nor did the vacation. I will never do that again without an actual job, title change and salary to reflect it

        1. Curious*

          Ummm… I think you meant that the *pay* never materialized. Because I’m pretty sure that the “pain” did!

    4. Beth*

      Agreed. I know it sucks to look at the 8 months of work you did and feel like you’re not going to get what you were promised for it. I think you should push to get at least something for it–at minimum make sure you were paid for any overtime you worked, see if you can push for at least a title change, if you have anything solid in writing then push for a raise as well!

      But don’t treat it as setting yourself up for what you’ll be paid while working here for the next year or two. Treat it as the title you want to list for yourself on your resume when you start job hunting in the near future. Your current organization has shown that they’re OK with exploiting you–even if you manage to push them into giving everything they promised, they still did their best to cheat you, and you have to assume they’ll do it again if they get the chance. Don’t give them the chance.

      1. RedinSC*

        I agree about pushing for the title change. Make sure it reflects the work you did and can be used for looking for that new job.

    5. Another Use of the Identify Spell*

      Any written communication instructing to (illegally) work over without pay would also be useful. There are probably timestamps on emails sent, invoices generated, etc. to prove at least some of the time. That would be tedious to find and save copies of for 9 months of work, but worth it if you can get all that OT pay as their parting gift – because by the time you have done all the talking to a lawyer and gathering info you are on your way out the door to a better job.

    6. Sloanicota*

      Agree. Best case scenario you weren’t getting paid for those eight months, so you’re so deeply in the hole now that I don’t see this being salvageable even if you manage to walk them up a little around the margins. If I could go back in time I’d warn you not to take on the new role until the evaluation time, but I know how hard that can be to pull off.

    7. Jackie Daytona, Regular Human Bartender*

      Agreed. Going above and beyond is not rewarded here. Instead, you get stress, deceit, and incompetence. Forget that noise.

    8. teamrocket*

      Letter writer here! I am already on it; the whole thing left a very sour taste in my mouth and this isn’t the kind of culture I want to continue working with. Hopefully, it won’t take too long before I’m on to bigger and better things!

      1. Smithy*

        Genuinely all the best!

        I know that it’s easy to say that they never intended to give you a true raise/promotion – but honestly it’s sometimes worse when they do intend, but then do no work to make it happen. Essentially, never go to HR, never learn what is or is not possible, never push to make good on their promises. Basically, when your supervisor/leadership wants to do something, but has no interest, willingness, or capacity to do the work to make it happen. This can be due to ignorance, having a workload too high to fit you in, etc.

        The end results in both situation are the same, but an employer just looking to pinch pennies can be approached directly on that front. A supervisor/team that promises the world and never follows up is both impossible to trust and often not acting out of malice.

      2. Tammy 2*

        I’m sorry this happened to you! I hope you have an awesome resume now that will get you a job that pays what you’re worth.

      3. Insert Clever Name Here*

        So sorry this happened, and hopefully a new, better job appears quickly!

        OP*/LW* for those who search those terms.

      4. Hannah Lee*

        Good news LW.

        One recommendation if you’re not already going down this path:
        – gather as much documentation, information you can on the hours you worked, particularly any time over 40 hours in a workweek
        – compare that with what you were paid for
        – if there is ANY discrepancy there, if you were working any extra hours to cover all the extra work they dumped on you, please take a summary of that and any documentation supporting your calculations to an attorney that specializes in employment law. Because if they were not paying you, a non-exempt employee, for all the hours you worked and/or not paying you time and a half for any time worked over 40 hours in a given workweek they are in violation of the law and owe you that money, and may also owe you additional money (damages) on top of the wages they didn’t pay.

        A local employment law attorney will know the law where you’re employed, and be able to tell whether there is a case to be made.

        This is worth doing even if you’re planning on leaving, because that is money they legally owe you, and could be substantial money depending on the details. And even if you decide not to pursue it legally for whatever reason, at least you’ll know, and perhaps can warn your current coworker to look out for that practice.

        1. Aitch Arr*

          First stop for this LW should be the state labor board (or equivalent) to report a Wage & Hour Violation rather than an employment attorney.

    9. Specks*

      This. Start pulling back to working your original scope and use the freed up time to apply to places with market compensation and normal workloads. Ask a lot of questions in the interview.

      And, I hate to say this, but learn from this. Don’t do a job you don’t want to do for nearly a year for a future, not guaranteed promise of some vague raise. Especially not based on the promise of a person who clearly isn’t worth trusting based on other management issues and personality.

    10. Loud Quitting*

      100%. I had a middle manager like this; I kept telling myself it would be fine eventually because I liked the work and my co-workers, but over the course of several months, this person eroded every bit of self-confidence I had. Every promise she made fell through for reasons that were “out of her hands;” meanwhile I saw people who had been with the institution for less time, doing less work, get promoted with raises and other perks. It was to the point where I was putting zoom meetings on my calendar just to be able to close my door/sit in my car and cry for an hour.

      It came to a head when this manager said something astoundingly cruel during a 1:1. I resigned on the spot. I’ve since spoken with others who report to her and discovered that she has been manipulating all of us for the last several years. I wish I had talked to people earlier; it would have saved me a lot of angst and isolation.

    11. teamrocket*

      yeah this is exactly why I’m out ASAP. a good leader shouldn’t have to be pushed or held to the fire by HR to fairly compensate their employee for the work they’re doing, especially when they promised they would.

  2. Bamboozled2*

    Boss recently made a comment that these “young people” have “no work ethic” and you have to “put in the work and do the job first, then will get a raise from it.” Because how can you prove you a worth a raise without doing the work first?

    I referenced AAM posts and other sources where this was being directly advised against because companies too often take advantage of the different in power.

    “But we are a family here and no one would do that here” and “that’s just not how I was raised” were the responses.

    Then said that I will be given more responsibility soon on a path to leadership and maybe a new title.

    I am outta here as soon as I can get another offer!

    But in the moment, what do you do? I know I will be exploited (again) by this boss as I have by others in the past because jobs are hard to find despite all the media attention to the contrary, and until you are able to leave, you cannot really say “no” without getting fired or at a minimum hurting your standing at your company.

    1. Amanda*

      I am so sorry that you, like so many of us, have experienced this pattern of frankly insulting behaviour in the workplace. Nothing to add except, yep, this is the truth.

    2. Chirpy*

      Yep, same, I got “exceeds expectations” on my evaluation and still only got a 2% raise this year. It doesn’t even cover the $70 my rent is going up.

      And they wonder why all the good people are leaving…

      1. Sloanicota*

        The insurance! My insurance share has more than tripled in the last few years, far exceeding the minor increase in salary.

        1. anon for this*

          Same. My annual increase is just barely enough to cover the additional amount being taken out for insurance.

          Same pay*, different year.

          (Feel free to substitute with the usual word.)

      2. Hannah Lee*

        I’m still frosty over the “exceeds expectations” I got that resulted in a lower increase, both % and amount wise than one of the people who reported to me who got “needs improvement”

        (I had control over the review details and overall ratings for my staff, but not the allocation of department raise money)

        The reason? The VP decided the guy needed it more because he was married with kids and a stay at home spouse. While I was a single woman with no children (who by the way was helping support my elderly mother and disabled sister, but apparently THAT doesn’t count when deciding who deserves money or they just didn’t bother to ask me what my expenses, obligations were) Yeah, there was also some talk about band adjustment or some such, but no matter how many times they walked me through it, it just Did. Not. Make. Sense.

        I stayed at that misogynistic company way too long.

        1. Chirpy*

          That’s awful. I always want to ask those people why single people shouldn’t be paid *more*, since we have nobody to share expenses with.
          There’s no rent discount for only having one person living there instead of two…

    3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      The best case scenario is that you will be essentially demoted. Wow. You get to go back to doing your original job after all the work you put in and experience you’ve gained?
      That’s on the freaking table?
      Hell to the naw naw naw.
      It’s like stepping into a river. You can’t step into the same place twice.
      You will still be expected to do the work. (You write this yourself.) You will still be who they turn to when something needs handling. They aren’t going to let you “waste the opportunity they gave you.”
      Yes, you go screwed. You need to realize that you got screwed. You need to take care of yourself now and separate yourself from this company, first in your mind. You do your work. You go home. You leave work at work. You stop being invested in the company. You start looking for a new job.
      (Pretend it’s middle school. It sucks, but it will be over. Enjoy the parts you can, but let the rest of it go.)

      1. teamrocket*

        yeah, it’s really crummy because it definitely doesn’t go both ways. I can’t say no without consequences but they can no and at worst, they have to replace me.
        I’m already job hunting and will be leaving as soon as I find the right new position. I was already not happy with the new culture leadership has brought in, I have no reason to stay.
        Like I told HR, it’s a business relationship and I work for money. I will stay as long as it makes sense for me to do so and this does not make sense

        1. Not Tom, Just Petty*

          I’m glad your head is in a good place.
          Good luck to you and stay the course.

        2. Boof*

          What are the consequences if you say no? I think if they fire you for not working unpaid overtime or whatever… well as I understand it in the USA you’d be able to get unemployment while you focused on job searchin. IDK how dire the job situation is; and if they’re already short seems unlikely they’d fire you (are they firing other people?)

    4. Goldenrod*

      “But in the moment, what do you do? I know I will be exploited (again) by this boss as I have by others in the past”

      Personally, I would smile and “act positive” while looking for other jobs on work time!

      1. Smithy*

        This right here.

        In the same way that employees have the lasting power to leave a job when it’s no longer suiting their needs – the lasting threat that employers/supervisors can really hold over staff is their recommendation.

        I think there’s a lot of wonderful discourse out there now about not doing work that you’re not being properly paid for. But the decision to try and stay and fix an employer’s attitude to this is going to be further investment of time that may never be matched with the appropriate compensation.

    5. Venus*

      I think it’s okay to have someone do the job for a bit before promoting them, to give them the opportunity to see if they like it and are good at it. BUT the timeline for a decision should be clear, the amount of money they will get paid at that higher level should be clear, and it assumes the baseline pay for their previous job is good. I suspect the “put in the work and do the job first, then will get a raise from it” folks weren’t doing the job for nearly a year before they were properly compensated, whereas they expect it of others now. They conveniently forget how good they had it “back in their day”.

    6. Ellis Bell*

      Is there any wiggle room short of saying a direct no? When you’ve got a punitive boss who you think will either exploit you or fire you, there’s usually a workload line a bit lower than they’d like to see, and a bit higher than you’d willingly do at your current compensation. So think expressions like “I can definitely take on more cupcake frosting, but you’ll see less donut dusting if my time goes on that” or “I can see what I can do, but be prepared for some delays because of x, y and z”. There’s definitely a spectrum between what they can squeeze out of you, and them not getting everything but it still being ultimately more work to fire and rehire. Basically yeah you might have to work harder than is fair, but don’t knock yourself out like an imminent reward is coming (because it’s not). Just try to choose tasks and responsibilities that will look good to mention in cover letters and interviews, because it’s only a matter of time.

    7. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

      Funny how “we’re a family here” doesn’t mean “we are confident in your abilities, so you get the raise as soon as you start doing the job” or “so we are going to treat you at least as well as you deserve.” I wonder, sometimes, if people who say that treat their actual families equally shabbily, or if they were raised by parents who kept saying things like “how can I be sure you’re not lying to me” and told them “don’t be silly, of course you like my favorite TV show.”

    8. WMM*

      In the moment: ask for it in writing. If “we’re all family” and no one is taking advantage of anyone else, then they will put it in writing. Closely follow Alison’s advice about the specific writing. Make sure it includes what happens if the additional work is not good enough to warrant the specified raise and title. Would you move back to the original role? Would you be expected to do the higher level of work longer without compensation?

    9. Bast*

      “But we’re a family here” has been used to justify tolerating some of the crappiest behavior in the office. I worked for for a “we’re a family” office who would continually tell you things like, “it isn’t just about the pay” “people care about the pay too much and don’t focus on everything else this office has to offer” etc, etc. Sorry, I’m not going to stay and tolerate your blatant lies about raises and promotions just because we have pizza Friday or a doughnut day (which is what “like a family” meant, to them, I guess? Those are the things they always pointed to when someone complained to show that they cared). Like, sure, that’s nice, but I’ll take the money over that any day. And above that, some honesty.

      1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

        Have the owners tried paying the office rent partially in donuts?

    10. wmsm*

      In the moment, you ask for it in writing. If you’re all family and no one is looking to take advantage of anyone else, it will be easy to get in writing what is expected, both in work, future title, future pay, and specific time range. Make sure it uses the specific wording mentioned in A’s response.

    11. Radioactive Cyborg Llama*

      I believe as nonexempt salaried, you need to be paid overtime. If you were not paid overtime, I suggest talking to a lawyer.

    12. Lusara*

      This is not new. Back in the 90s at one of my first jobs, this was how it worked. To be considered for a promotion, you were put in the position for several months without the title or pay. If you were successful, then you got the promotion and raise.

  3. I have opinions...*

    Another question, did you record accurate time spent during the duration, or do they have you record exactly 40/hours per week no matter what? If you didn’t record actual time, your wage claim could be more difficult. Not impossible, but less cut and dry. Would require other documentation to show you were working the extra hours, and that they knew you were working those hours.

    Biggest issue though goes beyond this, and what you might get them to agree to. And that’s, do you honestly want to stay there after this? I’d have started looking for that new job already. This sounds like a miserable environment.

    1. teamrocket*

      I started looking for a new job back in Jan, once I got through the holidays. I was already not happy with how things were looking and the new dynamic and culture the new dept head was bringing in. This was just the slap in the face that made me double my efforts.
      I’m rapidly approaching burn out so a legal case is one of my lesser priorities until I can find a new job and GTHO

      1. MigraineMonth*

        In my state a wage claim isn’t any kind of legal case. You just tell your employer what hours you actually worked and therefore what is owed to you. If they don’t give you the money, you have up to 2 years from the date you were scheduled to be paid to file a wage claim form with the state.

      2. Festively Dressed Earl*

        I hear you. Horrible situations drain you so much that it’s often too tiring to get out of the horrible situation, let alone pursue justice. The glassbowls who do this depend on their prey being too tired to fight back. Do you think you can at least get as much documentation of this spitshow as possible? Maybe print it out instead of emailing it or downloading it so that no flags go up? That way if you end up reconsidering legal action, you’re ready for it.

      3. Curious*

        Please do make it a priority to speak to an employment lawyer ASAP. Limitations periods for wage claims may vary by state — and you don’t want to lose our because your claim gets time-barred.

      4. meggus*

        You don’t need to hire a lawyer to file a wage theft claim with the DOL Wage & Hour Division. Or talk to anyone! If you have all your documentation you can file a complaint online. If the investigation turns out in your favor you get a check. info here: https://www.worker.gov/actions-whd-claim/
        get ’em. you deserve it. you’re *owed* <3

  4. Kindred Spirit*

    I am confused about one thing… I have been non-exempt and exempt in my career. I have not heard the term”non-exempt salaried” employee. I though that was mutually exclusive— you’re either salaried and exempt from overtime compensation, or you’re hourly and must be paid for overtime.

    1. Ellen*

      I think that generally refers to someone who works regular hours (40 hours a week or similar) and has an agreed-upon salary for the year — as opposed to someone who works a job where the hours (and thus compensation) can vary weekly.

      In my industry, all full-time employees are considered salaried, but some are exempt and some are non-exempt.

      1. Engineer2.3*

        I’m non-exempt salaried! It’s common in consulting, law etc. You work a minimum of 40 hours a week (base compensation/salary) and then get compensated on top of that for overtime hours, which are expected at as a major part of the role.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            Also salaried exempt. It happened because workers were complaining to our union about the excessive hours they were expected to work. The union negotiated overtime pay (at 1.5x), and magically we were no longer expected to work more than 40 hours a week.

      2. Old Cynic*

        I worked a job once where we were paid 86 hours per semi-monthly pay period. Then OT hours were added (and missed hours deducted.)

        I also work a job where the semi-monthly paychecks were for 80, 88 or 96 hours depending on how many work days were in the period.

        I much preferred the former.

    2. Ask a Manager* Post author

      You can be non-exempt salaried, which means you’re paid on a salary basis but also get overtime if you work more than 40 hours in a week.

      1. Freya*

        The equivalent in Australia is a permanent employee who gets overtime – whether or not loadings like overtime are folded into the base rate depends on the relevant Award or Enterprise Agreement or your contract. There’s been recent changes to a bunch of the Awards (the federal legal minimum pay rates and standards for different industries) such that under those Awards, overtime applies if you are not being paid a loaded rate at least 1.25x the minimum pay rate for your position, whether or not your Agreement or contract says otherwise.

    3. Labrat*

      Base salary is for a 40 hour work week and your time (sick, worked, vacation) must equal at least 40. Anything over that is OT.

    4. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

      It’s very rare, but you can be salaried but still eligible for overtime.

      1. Julia j*

        It depends on the industry! In places with billable hours it’s the norm, at least in the nyc metro area

      2. Overtimeandahalf*

        I will add: It is very rare because companies want to consider everyone who is salaried to be exempt because they are salaried. At least in the US, the Department of Labor rules are very specific on what jobs can count as exempt and I have seen many companies get in trouble for misclassifying them. There are minimum salary thresholds, certain job duty thresholds (doctor working as a doctor is an exempt professional, same professional working flipping burgers at a restaurant is non-exempt assuming that job does not reasonably require you to be a doctor to do it).

        Just like companies misclassify employees as independent contractors, there are many more non-exempt salaried workers out there who don’t realize it.

      3. Consonance*

        It’s actually pretty common. It’s just that many companies choose to classify anyone non-exempt as hourly, because it helps them stay on the right side of the law. If they classify someone as exempt erroneously, they can get in big trouble with FLSA. Hourly non-exempt, Salaried non-exempt, and Salaried exempt are all standard categories (and I’ve been all of them!).

      4. Isben Takes Tea*

        I don’t know if it’s that rare; I’ve worked in several industries (publishing and tech) and always by default been salaried non-exempt. From my experience, I thought it was standard entry- to mid-level white-collar expectations! The US has very strict rules about what can be an exempt position, and it has more to do with the kind of work you’re doing than how you’re paid (though it’s a piece of it).

    5. Pierrot*

      I am salaried and non-exempt! I have a salary and expected to work 8 hours/day (unless I’m using PTO or sick time, in which case I am paid for the 8 hours regardless). There is a base hourly pay that really only comes up in the context of overtime. I have to get approval in advance to work overtime, though if there was a circumstance where I genuinely could not anticipate the overtime hours, they would obviously pay. Generally if I work more than 8 hours, I am expected to work a shorter day the next day.

    6. Red Reader the Adulting Fairy*

      Exempt is whether you are entitled to overtime compensation or not. Salaried/hourly just says how your wages are calculated. When I was salaried non-exempt, it was because our pay periods were 1-15 and 16-EOM, so they were not consistent as far as how many workdays were in each pay period.

      So even though were were non-exempt and entitled to overtime compensation, we were paid as if we were salaried, so that I got the same 1/24 of my annual salary (calculated as my hourly rate * 40 * 52, divided by 24) as my gross pay every pay period, whether it had 8 workdays or 13 workdays. Unpaid time off or overtime would be subtracted from or added to the 1/24 base accordingly.

      Over the course of the year, it balanced out, but they also kept a running track of actual worked hours so that if someone left mid-year, and had worked 8 more or fewer hours than they had been paid for or whatever, the difference could be settled up by either paying them for the additional hours or deducting an overage from their vacation payout. (I think they even kept the running balance on your paystub?) But I LOVED not having to dread the paycheck for the second half of February.

  5. Bella*

    HR has nothing to do with increases beyond completing the paperwork and submitting it to payroll.

      1. MassMatt*

        It does vary by company but as soon as I read “requested a meeting with HR I thought “…and they will do nothing”.

        LW needs to make more of this, or even some of it, the boss’s problem. Right now they are getting two or even three employee jobs done paying only one person a single digit percentage more. The boss is likely being congratulated for their great management and budgeting skill.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Very untrue at my job. As HR I propose most increases/promotions/title changes, perform the related check-in or review with the employee, fill out the paperwork, and provide any related training if responsibility has increased.

      1. Sneaky Squirrel*

        Same; As HR, I would absolutely be the one recommending increases/promotions/title changes, recommending bonuses when appropriate and ensuring that this data is conveyed to our payroll team appropriately.

    2. StressedButOkay*

      It’s company by company – what my HR department did at my last job was a drop in the bucket compared to what my current HR department does for the company.

    3. HR Friend*

      Not necessarily. HR can enforce a written agreement made between the employee and the manager. Even without that, we can apply pressure to management to uphold a verbal agreement. And without that, I can help make a case with the employee that he’s due a raise based on previous commitments the manager made, because of new/increased responsibility, or simply because we want to retain him. We also write job descriptions which we use to benchmark salaries to market data, so we’d be able to help do that too, considering LW’s new duties.

      In a case like this, I’d also have concerns about the manager’s ability. It sounds like vague promises were made. So I would want to hear from the employee, how he interpreted any conversations and what he ultimately expected to get. And from the manager, how he interpreted the same conversations and what he expected to give. If manager acted unscrupulously, we’d intervene and maybe provide training or more oversight. And really, he’d just be on our radar for f–ing with people’s money, title, and generally being untrustworthy.

      1. Lab Boss*

        Or the flip side- at my company HR has a lot of final oversight over every compensation change, no matter how run-of-the-mill it is. I was in a situation similar to LW’s and my “later” raise came through, a couple thousand dollars less than the agreed amount. It turns out that some HR bean-counter just decided that “that raise was excessive compared to other raises happening around the same time,” and it took someone in our C-suite going all the way to bat against the director of HR to get them to back down and bump my compensation back up to where it had been agreed to.

      2. ariel*

        ^^ this – HR friend makes a great case for *good* HR, which is sounds like OP has, thankfully.

    4. teamrocket*

      not at my company; HR exists as the system of checks and balances to ensure the company isn’t doing exactly what my boss is doing now, because it’s not good for the company to lose their best people to slimy things. given that HR was unaware of many many things I brought up during our convo and how much I know my boss is afraid of the head of HR, HR is actually my best bet to ensure that there isn’t any retaliation against me for having this convo.
      This isn’t a convo I can have with the dept head since previous feedback has fallen on deaf ears at best or has been badly received at worst.
      This is HR’s job to manage now that I’ve flagged it to them.

      1. Aitch Arr*

        I’m glad you have good HR.

        My org – and my HR philosophy – is more in line with what your org is like and what was posted by EOW and HR Friend.

  6. Falling Diphthong*

    The timing would be this spring when appraisal season rolls around.
    Pulling out this part to underline the unreasonableness. Sure, in a fantasy story HR can say “You have to start on October 1st because that’s the only day that the portal opens between our world and Shamalaloo.” Or your manager can say “Tuesday we’re doing a demo for the Fae at their toadstool circle. If you visit the land of the Fae and eat something, then they get to keep you forever. So turn down those muffins.”

    I really don’t think it’s the case that they could not possibly, ossibly increase OP’s pay in the summer, just because OP was taking on a different job and different title and different responsibilities in return for more money, or was at least told that that was what was happening. Hopefully told that in writing. (Granted, the company seems to have hit on “We don’t need to hire new people, because OP can just do their work too.” But that’s not how hiring to fill a vacancy is supposed to work–you don’t wait for March because March ’tis the season of appraisals.)

    1. AVP*

      Kind of seems like they were desperate to get this work done but not to go to bat for OP or even run the decision tree up the management chain or to HR to get it worked out properly.

      1. Sloanicota*

        Yes, there’s a tricky move to pull off where OP refuses to take on this expanded role (or uses the frequent advice about “here’s what I can do in 40 hours, tell me what you want me to prioritize and what we’re dropping” unless the promotion comes through – now, today. And does not take on the higher level role without the higher salary. It’s hard to pull off because companies don’t like it, and in theory they can tell you “this is your job now, and if you don’t do it, you’re fired” – or you can just lose all favor after sticking up on yourself. You have to judge if they’d really fire you when it sounds like they’re pretty desperate.

    2. I have opinions...*

      Agreed. They CAN increase off cycle. I promise they can. They might not like to. It might cause them complications they’d rather not face. But they can do it.

      1. JustaTech*

        I’m pretty sure both of my last promotions were off-cycle (I’m 100% sure about the first one) because what happened was: only other person who knows how to do my job quits – I am now the sole point of failure.
        The first time I was very nervous and nice and it took me two meetings to ask for a promotion and raise.

        The second time I also discovered that I was being paid *significantly* less than my departing counterpart and the conversation was a lot less friendly and a lot more frosty.
        (I got the promotions, but still haven’t fully made up the money difference.)

    3. Antilles*

      Even though the normal process is to do annual evaluations in March, this was a unique situation. If the department really really wanted to get OP the raise/title bump, he could have gotten it done.

    4. Old Cynic*

      I remember getting a promotion and raise just 2 months after the annual eval process. The next year I didn’t get a raise because I “had already received one after the previous annual.”

      1. Lab Boss*

        That was my first thought. Even if OP hadn’t gotten screwed, they would have used the timing to roll up their promotion-based raise and their annual raise into a single event, and only increasing salary to the level that would have been appropriate when they took on the new duties, thus effectively denying them an annual raise and reducing the actual value of the promotion.

    5. TG*

      I love my former boss but he also bamboozled me on this as well. I did so much work but then not real raise so I stopped doing as much. Then I got laid off so there you go (RIF and I do believe him that he had no idea…) it was C Suite from all rumors…

  7. Engineer2.3*

    OP, I know you feel disappointed and angry, and it sucks that they were dishonest with you. But I think it’s time to jump for something new rather than try to pressure them into holding up the agreement. These people have shown you who they are.

    1. Sloanicota*

      Honestly the time to start looking was when all the good people left and you noticed the company wasn’t acting with urgency to backfill.

    2. Pastor Petty Labelle*

      I’m gonna be blunt here — there’s a reason senior people left. OP you should too. ASAP.

      Your boss sucks and isn’t going to change.

      1. Hannah Lee*

        It is probably worth it to reach out to some of those people LW had a good working relationship with to let them know they are looking.

    3. teamrocket*

      I’ve been job hunting since Jan, had to get through holiday season to be able to do it. job hunting is a full time job itself, y’all.
      I’m not in a financial place to just leave a job without having a new one lined up as my salary supports more people than just me so it’s really just me staying only for as long as I have to

      1. The Other Sage*

        That is exactly why so many people put up with toxic job environnements.

        Good luck to you to find something better.

      2. MigraineMonth*

        We’re glad you’re job searching, and even though your workplace sucks, continuing to work while searching is undoubtedly the right thing to do if you’re supporting multiple people on your salary.

        Kudos for handling a rough situation as well as you have, and we’re all rooting for you to find a place that appreciates and rewards your hard work.

      3. Hazel*

        Congrats! You got there faster than many of us do. I feel like it is some weird career rite of passage to get burned out (usually by) covering another job or two, releasing there is no real reward, and vowing never to do that again. It’s a shame and I am sorry it happens to so many of us, best of luck moving on, and don’t hesitate to put the extra territory you covered on your resume at least!

    4. Fiachra*

      The sense I get is that LW is intending to stay just long enough to get all the money owed to them for that work. Much easier to secure a better job elsewhere with a bigger title and salary.

  8. BellyButton*

    LW don’t blame yourself for how this went down. I think so many of us trusted in what someone said and have found ourselves in your exact situation at least once in our careers. We learn and move on and are better to protect ourselves and CYA in the future. Good luck!

    1. teamrocket*

      Thank you! I went back over and over in my mind and I really had no way of knowing I was going to be screwed. The new dept head hadn’t shown their true colors yet and my direct boss always advocated and pushed for me; I had no idea he would leave the company before I could get what was promised :(

      1. Ellie*

        I’ve been in your situation, doing a much more stressful job while the title change and salary was still being worked out. In my case, it was fine. I was delighted by the end figure that was offered. This is the way it is supposed to work OP. You did nothing wrong at all.

    2. Stripes*

      Yes! I worked for a state agency when I got a big promotion (20% salary increase). It took TWO months for me to get paid my new rate, and then it took another TWELVE+ months for me to receive the pay discrepancy (and even then, it was only when I had resigned and they needed to pay me out ASAP). Turns out all the higher ups who told me they were “working on it” weren’t doing anything besides emailing me to say they were working on it…
      I learned the hard way to be a squeaky wheel very early and to be a bit more firm when not getting paid correctly. If the state hadn’t paid me out when I left, I would have had no recourse to receive those thousands of dollars owed to me.

      1. Artemesia*

        My final big promotion just sat in an inbox for months. I was trying to be patient but there was a poke every so often and my boss queried — and it was ‘working on it’. ‘not’ — It didn’t make a difference in my pay but it finally took a fairly aggressive move on his part to get it busted loose. Of course I was concerned that it wasn’t going through — it was promotion to full professor. It can get hung up at any stage and I had seen it happen to others. Got it finally.

  9. Chad H.*

    Once trust is broken, its broken. The spell cannot be recast.

    Some employers refuse to learn this lesson.

  10. Hermione Danger*

    OP, the good news here is that you’ve now got those shiny new “cool projects” you mentioned to include on your resume.

    1. Neosmom*

      Yep! Liz Ryan calls these work experience opportunities “golden nuggets” and “resume fodder”. Share about them in your cover letters, on the various versions of your resume, and during your interviews. You got this.

    2. teamrocket*

      That is one big silver lining; it’s already added so much weight to my resume and showcasing my competency and skills, thanks for reminding me to look on the bright side :)

    3. SansaStark*

      That’s exactly what I was coming to the comment section to say. I had a similar situation and I was so freaking confident in my job interviews because I *knew* I had been doing this work very well for months. It was incredibly validating when the hiring manager (my present boss) was visibly impressed with just how much experience I had with so many different things. She fondly calls my former company “those fools” who thought they could keep me forever with a dangling carrot. I hope that you get the same validation (and pay bump), LW!

  11. Kevin Sours*

    This is a situation where you are likely well advised to consult with an employment attorney familiar with the laws in your jurisdiction. What claims you have and what can practically be pursued are going to be highly fact dependent. (And an attorney can help you navigate negotiations with HR and management without necessarily bringing the threat of a lawsuit into it)

    1. Just Thinkin' Here*

      And certainly bring along your hours worked and the issue of non-exempt. I’m betting they didn’t pay for overtime as discussed earlier in the thread.

  12. Michelle Smith*

    I don’t have any additional advice for you as you already know this place sucks and you need to get out and the legal side of things has already been covered. I’m only commenting to say I’m angry on your behalf. The way you were treated was so deeply unfair as to be damn near unconscionable. I’m really, really sorry.

  13. Lab Boss*

    OP- If you end up having to stay at this place for any length of time, I’m wishing you best of luck at holding strong and ONLY doing your original job. In fact, before the added duties ever showed up, were you doing your job? or were you doing your job plus some extra stuff? Because if they’re telling you that you aren’t promotion-worthy, then there’s no reason at all do to more than the minimum.

    Source: Had to threaten this in a nearly-identical situation. I had a written list, and everything, of “here are things that aren’t actually my job that I will stop doing immediately if you don’t play fair with me.”

    1. Garblesnark*

      When I had this happen at a job, the only way I could find to get back from an unpaid additional job I hated to the job I signed up for and loved was to advise management that, oh no, I had something come up in my personal life and was only available for 32 hours now. Also if they kept scheduling me for more hours I would quit on the spot, and if they didn’t hire and onboard someone within a month for the extra job it would simply go undone.

      My manager kinda resents me now, but I only do one job for my pitiful hourly rate, and I have an extra day off to spend interviewing anywhere else.

  14. DMLOKC*

    I think this can be saved without jumping ship or things getting too negative. I was in a similar situation twice and it worked out just fine. I earned a promotion which included relocation. During the lead up conversation, I was told AND WROTE IN MY NOTES that the pay increase would be around 10%. When the promotion went through it came with a 6% increase. I called my boss, reminded him of our conversation, and mentioned my notes from the meeting. The increase was made to 10% and was backdated. Further down the road, my level of employee (managers), was moved from salary non-exempt to salary exempt. We lost a lot of OT pay. I called my manager, explained that I’d not have taken the promotion and relo if I knew I wouldn’t get OT. OT was a substantial part of our pay. They increased my pay by the average of OT $$ I made in a year. Happy happy. All was good. Stayed there for years with no hard feelings on either side.

    1. teamrocket*

      I’m glad it worked out for you! Unfortunately, I’ve seen enough of the new dept head way of working that I am not optimistic that reminding them what I agreed to would actually work here.

      1. Workerbee*

        Plus, in that above comment, each time that OP had to do the reminding and pointing out to the boss that they were getting the shaft. I see that more as a company trying to get away with giving less rather than a benign “oops”.

  15. Marzipan Shepherdess*

    I’m with Team Start Job-Hunting NOW! The exodus of so many employees was itself a red flag; WHY did so they leave in droves? Probably NOT because the company was so well and so ethically run, and they were compensated well and treated with respect and appreciation!

    This isn’t a red flag – it’s a screaming siren with flashing scarlet lights on top. Ten to one there’s NO written promise of any raise or upscaled job description, so it’s your word against that of whatever executive(s) are profiting from your working yourself into the ground for peanuts. Get out of there ASAP!

    1. Web of Pies*

      Yep, this is exactly like my former employer as well, except lucky us, we got no raises for any reason ever. The turnover was over 30% when I left.

      LEAVE. Your trust in this organization isn’t coming back, even if they do make it right (which I doubt), and you will be so much happier.

    2. Laser99*

      If you ever determine you being mistreated/underpaid/exploited or whatever, there is 0% chance the powers that be have any interest in mitigating the situation. You have to advocate for yourself.

  16. lnelson1218*

    If you are non-exempt and put in a lot of extra work, then hopefully you have been collecting any overtime that you worked.
    What too many employers forget is that good-will works both ways.
    If they aren’t willing to recognize what you have done. Take that experience to another place.

    1. teamrocket*

      honestly I was so upset after the conversation that I calculated how much of two weeks is the same single digit percent as my increase, which comes down to about 1 work day, and that’s about how much notice I was going to give them lol
      maybe I’ll mellow out once I actually get a job offer and give them two weeks for the sake of my coworkers

      1. further questions*

        iew bump?

        I know you’re upset about the principle, and I completely understand where you are coming from. Can you elaborate a little bit more on what you were expecting and were promised? Maybe I just working in an industry with lower margins, but a 7% raise within the same role/salary band is pretty close to the best you’re gonna get salary-wise. Especially if HR is the one setting your increase and it didn’t know that you were promised a promotion, meaning they were working under the assumption that your rate is gonna stay higher (with the potential premium overtime) after your workload ostensibly decreases back down to normal.

        I’m not defending the decision, I’m simply just trying to understand and I’m having to make quite a few assumptions to get there, so please correct me where I’m wrong. It sounds like your company processes merits and promotions all at the same time, so were you expecting to get a bump for your rating and then also for a promotion or would they have been combined? How much money is on the table here?

        For example, in my frame of reference (which I understand will not be the same as yours) a 7-10% bump for an in-line promotion is on the higher end. The calculus changes a little bit if you were changing entire job functions and wanting a title that was a higher level of responsibility than your current title within your current job function. Even if you weren’t changing positions, a 10% bump for exceeding expectations is beyond any merit raise I’ve seen even for my top, top performers (we separate merit increases and promotion processes and keep salaries up with inflation with regular equity reviews, so we have a suite of options). I can’t say this enough, I don’t know your industry. I don’t know your organization. I don’t know what you could’ve anticipated based on other peoples experiences, or what you were specifically promised. I just wonder what’s even possible here if they lump all their compensation levers together and pull them once a year.

        I think that’s the most important to ask yourself is: do you want this higher title under these conditions? Will you get the type of support and mentorship that you would need to be successful? Is there a real plan to get your team adequately staffed? Would you be generally happier returning to your normal scope of work with reasonable workload? Would you be happier at another organization, because you’re burnt out and need to leave, regardless?

        Ideally you would be getting a healthy one-time bonus if this was supposed to be temporary. If you want my two cents, if this workload is supposed be a permanent change to your role you should be getting…out of there, no matter what title they give you. It sounds like different people are making decisions than the ones who are making promises.

        You may be able to get the 10-20% or higher bump it sounds like you’re wanting by moving companies and starting anew in a stretch role. (Still don’t know your industry or outlook there, so I’m guessing). But I think that would be the easiest way to get what you’re looking for.

        1. further questions*

          First paragraph got cut off. Assuming you’re doing your math off of calendar days, less than 1 days work is around 7%.

  17. subaru outback driver*

    If it isn’t in writing, you really don’t have much to stand on. If it is in writing, then the question will be is it actually a contract or not. Honestly just start job searching.

  18. Kabong*

    Sorry this happened to you OP, something similar though not quite so insulting happened to my husband. He had realized he was severely underpaid for his position when he was recently moved to a new role. Per internal HR rules they couldn’t get him all the way to his desired compensation with the move, but promised they would make up the rest he wanted at the next raise cycle as well as give him a certain bonus level. Then politics happened and he only got half of the promised raise and his bonus was slightly less than last year (should have been triple). His bosses are furious and are going to bat to get him more ASAP, but still it sucks.

    Sounds like your leadership completely dropped the ball. Glad you spoke up to HR. I wouldn’t be shy about following up – if you haven’t I’d consider giving them a deadline to either give you the promised raise or you will go back to your previous responsibilities – and I’d also start job searching immediately.

  19. mopsy*

    OP, are you me from 6 months ago? I’m both laughing and reeling from how similar your experience was to mine.

    Similar to you, I got promises that unfortunately were never written down, then when the promotion cycle came I suddenly “misunderstood” everything that had been talked about despite doing way past my job description. I struggled with it for a while, talked to coworkers, then eventually decided to stay with it because at least future projects looked enticing and I was also planning on using maternity leave anyway.

    And then shortly after that decision I got let go with half the company. Despite a really tough market to find a new job while pregnant, it was still the best thing that’s happened to my career. I’m paid more and most importantly, I feel respected and valued. I can’t believe I let myself get gaslit for so long.

  20. teamrocket*

    thank you, I appreciate the support and the validation that my anger and frustration is justified, it can be hard to remember that when you spend so many hours in an environment that isn’t good for you

    1. RedinSC*

      It’s insidious, for sure.

      Good luck with the job search. I hope HR is able to get you minimally the title change, which would help out some.

  21. MaskedMarvel*

    I had a situation where I had been promised a promotion (think senior to principal consultant)
    I followed up, and my boss said they had to promote a colleague. I said, that was fine, but it was nothing to do with what we had agreed.
    She started talking about budgets and she knew I must be disappointed…
    It was then that the steam came out of my ears like I was Donald Goddamn Duck.
    The feedback I have got from my friends is that I am pretty tolerant and kind, but will not put up with being lied to.
    I said through gritted teeth while glaring at her that I didn’t feel disappointed, I felt cheated. There was no qualification expressed when I was promised this. I Was Not Happy.
    I left her office and went to my desk and started looking for another job.
    I got called into her office 40 minutes later, abd she told me that she had spoken to HR and I was getting the promotion and salary change.

    Your mileage may vary (I had leverage in terms of professional expertise they needed, but also I think they thought I would be more easygoing about it. They hadn’t seen that aspect of my personality yet.)

    1. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

      The “no money in the budget” — no, maybe not – but there’s almost always an off-budget slush fund to handle these situations.

      And my reply to any “Gee Whiz Maybe Next Year” is MY FUTURE IS NOW.

      1. Artemesia*

        And when they want to bring in the old frat brother there will be plenty of money to pay him lots more than those doing more with greater expertise are getting.

  22. Sneaky Squirrel*

    This is why I chuckle at the (often deserved) hate towards HR. For every awful HR person out there, there are as many HR workers behind the scenes trying to stop management from making promises to staff that they don’t intend to keep or can’t legally do.

  23. BellaStella*

    I am in the same situation LW. Best of luck and please update us when you land a new higher paying role!

    1. teamrocket*

      I plan to! hopefully it won’t be too long before I have a “good news Friday” update for y’all!

  24. Fred*

    “either I receive an updated salary and title and job description or I go back to my original scope of work.”

    Is that actually a choice that you can make? I picture your employer saying that your original job/job description is no longer available and you can either work in these new circumstances or not work there at all. There usually isn’t an option to just decline new work in exchange for keeping the same salary.

    1. teamrocket*

      it is an option mostly because it’s undeniable to everyone that my workload is unsustainable without full-time help for me anyway, so HR very much sees the case for it.
      plus, the only thing in writing they have that I agreed to was my job description, which I still have a copy of in my personal files.

      1. Skippy*

        HR may see the case for it, but HR often has no real power. As for what you agreed to… it depends where you work and in what field, but if you’re in an at-will state and you don’t have a contract, your employer doesn’t need your permission to change your job.

      2. Grumpy Elder Millennial*

        I’m glad that at least HR seems to be trying to do right by you. It’s still an awful situation, but with crappy HR it would be even worse.

  25. teamrocket*

    letter writer here for anyone new!

    mini update which I just got as I sit at my desk well past working hours because orders need to be keyed in and there’s no one else to do them:
    four new promotions were announced today, including two of which were members of my team
    I know it’s not personal but hoooooohhh my god does it feel personal right now. wish me luck in a speedy departure from this place!

    1. Retired Vulcan Raises 1 Grey Eyebrow*

      Get your skates on and rocket out of that sweatshop.
      Good luck!

    2. poostdoc*

      Oooph that’s frustrating to see. Sounds like you’re on the right track to get out, and hopefully will be able to find something new. Meanwhile, keep your head on straight and do the normal work expected for your job without going above and beyond.

      As hard as it is, try not to resent the folks who got promoted. If the company is this scummy they also likely have or will have to deal with similar problems.

      1. teamrocket*

        I’m really happy for the colleagues who got promoted, it’s well deserved and we’ve all been working really hard. it just also drove home the point that what I was promised is possible, if I have a good leader advocating for me, which I def don’t :(

        1. Elodieunderglass*

          Is there any merit in approaching a grandboss? You know your situation better than I do, but if I had a severely unfair dispute with my (line manager) that was making me consider leaving, I would feel very justified in speaking to my grandboss or great grandboss.

    3. Chocoglow*

      All the luck to you, and may your next job be less full of bees; this was very nearly me in retail six years ago. I don’t regret my choice to walk out, and demolish the steady flow of customers (I had the most knowledge at a certain time green fabric and crafts store).

      I was lucky to have a full time job lined up, I’m quite aware, but still, no regrets. The petty part of me still hasn’t set foot in the place since.

    4. Boof*

      What happens if you just… stop doing all the extra? If there’s not enough hours in your normal work day to do the orders, well, the orders (and/or something else) can wait for tomorrow? If they’re not paying you for the extra work, I think you have standing to just not do it (give a cheery heads up that you’re only going to be able to do x, y, or z, but not all 3, and you’ll focus on (x) unless they say otherwise; someone else will have to do y or z or else they’re just not gonna happen; or happen late; etc)

  26. Randy Howard*

    I’ve seen this type scenario play out before. Sounds like your department’s management and leadership have no special clout with HR. They meant well with their original offer, but weren’t able to make it happen. Not sure I buy HR not having been informed – just not the persons you’ve been able to talk with. Nothing good is going to come of this. Get out now, while you can. And parlay all the added experience into a better new job with a company which will appreciate you.

    1. teamrocket*

      At the company, HR signs off on raises and salary adjustments as a quality check but it’s at the department head’s discretion on what that looks like. probably why the department head never told HR about what they promised me. our company is small enough that the head of HR is the one who signs off on these things and who I spoke to. my direct boss definitely planned to give me this but he left before it materialized so it was all up to the department head who is not a great leader and is the one making the work culture. same dept head is also the one who conveniently didn’t mention this to HR, along with a whole lot of other important information. pure weasel behavior from dept head tbh. either way, I’m outta there as soon as I can be. this isn’t the culture I signed up for.

  27. indeed_so_then*

    I have something to add to the advice — you should check your state’s contract laws. This exact scenario happened to me. When I ultimately went to HR, they thought there was nothing they could do. But because I am in a state where verbal contracts are binding (as long as you can show that you had one), I was able to get the raise I was promised. I did not threaten to sue, but just knowing that they were legally liable got the company to do the right thing.

  28. anon_sighing*

    Hope there is something in writing, because otherwise its the ole carrot and stick. :\ I’m so sorry – your anger is very justified.

    Good luck on your search, sending good energy your way that a new job with a health environment and a fat increase in pay comes your way soon.

  29. Musicalmanager*

    I’ve been burned by this twice now. first time I accepted a counter offer to stay at my current company that promised a promotion in 6 months after completing a series of documented tasks (that were completed and signed off as successful by my VP). They said HR “changed the rules” about who was eligible for the promotion and I was no longer because I didn’t meet a years of experience requirement

    the second time I took a new job, I interviewed for a higher level role and they offered me a lower level one with a “path to promotions” in 6 months and a documented plan to get there. unfortunately everyone involved in making this promise to me quit within my first 3 months on the job.

    so – I’ve learned these sorts of things mean nothing to the company and not to count on them materializing in any way.

    in your shoes I’d 100% job search

  30. JPalmer*

    This is a ‘jump ship and mention it in your exit view’

    You have possibly fallen below the required level of trust with the company. How can you trust them in the future? They clearly did not communicate between departments, and made promises they didn’t have intention to keep. If they did, they would’ve done the bare minimum to ensure it was communicated and tracked.

    This strikes me as an empty promise or an overpromiser (who often make unfulfilled promises).

    Now there is the option about raising this as “The company presented me with a future that I accepted in good faith, if this event transpires with a disappointing outcome for someone who took on significant additional responsibility, that sends me a message that responsibility and dedication are not rewarded here. I don’t think that’s the sort of work culture that is in the company’s best interest long term. I implore you to bring this topic up for reevaluation so the company can retain talent.”
    That is corporate speak for “Make this right or I’m going to walk”. I think there’s maybe a 1/5 chance of that working. The more they like you, the more you delivered on recently increases the chance of that working. This will work based on how tactfully you can be a squeaky wheel of calling out a problem, because this is one. They shorted you on their promise about your compensation. Most smart companies don’t risk doing ANYTHING wrong in regards to conversations about compensation because it’s a toxic source of resentment.

  31. moo moo*

    OP, have you been receiving overtime pay? Also, was the raise 8-9%? You said single digit, but lots of places do cap promotions at 10%, which is BS.

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