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  • Is it fair to treat salaried and hourly employees differently in reviews?

Jan 2007

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

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

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

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

Good luck.

- Erisa Ojimba, Certified Compensation Professional

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