“I was promised a promotion, and given the higher-level duties, but have been denied the better title and pay. What do I do?”

Question: I work for an insurance company. In the beginning of the year I was an Audit Assistant, one step below an Audit Analyst. In February, an Audit Analyst left, and my boss told me I would be promoted to the Audit Analyst job. I immediately received the Audit Analyst duties, but I was kept at the lower Audit Assistant title and compensation.

It has been eight months since then, and another Audit Assistant has been promoted to Audit Analyst, and she got the improved title and pay that goes along with the promotion. My boss told me he would speak with the Chief Operating Officer, but nothing happened. First, I thought that this might be a violation of the Equal Pay Act, but we’re both women. Then I thought it could be age discrimination, but she’s over 40 and I’m 25.

Is there something I can do?

Raleigh, North Carolina

Answer: From what you’ve written, your problem is pretty simple: you are doing the Audit Analyst duties, but are being denied the Audit Analyst pay. Legally speaking, this is a “breach of contract,” that is, an agreement was made, you performed your part of the agreement, and your employer has not performed its part. You are due both back pay for what you have been denied for the eight months, and you are due the higher pay going forward. You are due the higher title, as well.

I suggest you write a polite, respectful, yet firm email to the Chief Operating Officer and the Head of HR, and bring this to their attention. Be prepared to describe with specificity the duties of the Audit Analyst job, and show in the best way you can that you are performing those exact duties. Tell them you are confident this is a simple oversight, and not intentional in any way. Do not criticize your boss; that usually is not helpful. In fact, in your email you might even thank and praise your boss for giving you an opportunity, helping train you, and recognizing your hard work, dedication and value to the company.

Give this a try. I think it will work. Stay on the “positive side,” and please let me know how it goes. My best to you.

Al Sklover

© 2009 Alan L. Sklover, All Rights Reserved.