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Los Angeles Litigation Law Firm 424-284-2401

Is It Still an Adverse Action If It Comes With a Fancy New Position Title?


When is a promotion not a promotion?  Employers often pile additional job duties on top of the ones in your original employment contract; this type of employee mission creep tends to happen when businesses are on a tight budget and want to get more work done without having to spend the money to hire additional employees.  Sometimes they even throw in a fancy new position title to make you feel like you are getting a promotion, when you are only getting a heavier workload.  The law does not prohibit employers from doing this, but it is no fun to be the employee who has to do the extra work without getting any extra pay.  So-called “dry promotions,” where you get additional work responsibilities without a salary boost, are sometimes just a case of capitalism in action, but they can also be a sign of something more insidious.  Dry promotions can be harmless, or they can be manifestations of employment discrimination or employer retaliation, depending on the context.  If you got a dry promotion, when coworkers who do not share a protected characteristic of yours got a sweet deal, contact a Los Angeles discrimination and harassment lawyer.

Beware of Dry Promotions

Roberta Matuson of Forbes describes these promotions in name only as dry promotions.  With entrepreneurial optimism not seen since the days since Who Moved My Cheese? was ubiquitous on bookshelves in FedEx Office stores, she even lists some scenarios in which accepting a dry promotion can be a wise move; for example, your shiny new position title looks good on your resume even if your bank account is unimpressed.

From the perspective of employment law, and in the interest of calling a spade a spade, a dry promotion is an undesired reassignment of duties.  When your employer changes your work location, work schedule, or job duties when you did not request this, it may be considered an adverse action.  Undesired reassignment of duties can also be considered an adverse action.

When Does a Dry Promotion Count as Employment Discrimination?

When an employer takes an adverse action against an employee, such as a reduction in pay, a demotion, or an undesired reassignment of duties, the employer’s action is justified if it was because of the employee’s misconduct or poor job performance.  If it is because of a protected characteristic, such as the employee’s race, gender, or family status, then the undesired reassignment of duties counts as employment discrimination.  If the reassignment of duties was your employer’s response to your engagement in a protected activity, such as requesting a disability accommodation or complaining about an incident of discrimination, then it counts as employer retaliation.

Speak With a Los Angeles Employment Discrimination Lawyer

A Los Angeles employment discrimination and retaliation lawyer can help you if your employer made it sound like you were getting a promotion but actually made you work harder for the same pay.  Contact Litigation, P.C. in Redondo Beach, California to discuss your situation or call (424)284-2401.


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