My employer, a chain restaurant in Huntsville, Alabama, promoted me to shift leader where I ran and closed a store for 5-4 months expecting to be paid $10 per hour and was told I would be getting paid for training in the process. Turns out, I was getting paid only $7.25 an hour. I was the lowest paid in the store even amongst the employees I was overseeing.

Once I found out I brought it to my manager's attention as well as the area coach's attention. I had a meeting with the area coach. He verbally assured me that I would receive back pay after I completed the online serve safe course which I did and still wasn't compensated. That area coach resigned and the company says they won't give me back pay because they don't give back pay.

  • 1
    Help you with what exactly? Can you sue? Sure. But you need to back up your claim. Witnesses and written statements will help. Ultimately you'll probably lose your job, you may then have a case for wrongful termination. How much money do you have to pay lawyers for this? It is probably better to cut your losses and get a new job, your recovery will be at least half after a lawyer is paid and I can't imagine you'll get more than a couple thousand.
    – Ron Beyer
    Nov 19, 2019 at 15:58
  • See alabamalegalhelp.org/organization/… Nov 19, 2019 at 17:16
  • Just as a note to the community, this might be a good wiki subject. Searching "employer false promise" yields quite a lot of questions.
    – bdb484
    Nov 19, 2019 at 17:26
  • @bdb484 you should probably research the relevant laws before hand.
    – Putvi
    Nov 19, 2019 at 18:14
  • Done and done! Thanks.
    – bdb484
    Nov 19, 2019 at 22:05

2 Answers 2


The law requires that your employer pay you the rate agreed or mandated by law. If they have underpaid you in the past they have to back pay you.

In promising you a raise to $10 and pay for the training, your manager or area coach made a commitment that is binding on the company. It doesn't matter if they were authorized by the company to make such an offer, they had apparent authority if it was reasonable for a person in your position to believe they had such authority. Since this came from both your immediate line manager and their manager it is completely reasonable.

You should talk to a lawyer or your union.

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    @Putvi if it was reasonable for people in the dining room to believe they has that authority (which it is), yes, the company is on the hook for it. Discipline of the manager by the company for exceeding actual authority would no doubt follow. In contrast, it would not be reasonable to believe they had the authority to distribute the contents of the till.
    – Dale M
    Nov 20, 2019 at 23:58
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    @Putvi ‘s mischaracterization of the concept of apparent authority makes little sense given all the readily accessible resources that plainly indicate his errir. This is not some obscure legal principle. Anyway, it’s worth nothing, at least in the area of agency law, apparent authority status must derive from some action taken by the principal that caused the third party to believe the person had authority. As I mentioned elsewhere, At least in NY, hiring someone as a manager in a company satisfies this requirement.
    – A.fm.
    Nov 21, 2019 at 18:51
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    It's not possible from the facts to determine that the Area Coac didn't have actual authority to do this. Assuming he didn't. It is self evident that the situation, as described, calls for an analysis using the principles we've mentioned and you've inexplicably disagreed with. There's a company, a third party (OP), and a person employed by the company who took an action that may or may not bind the company. It's nonsensical to say this principle doesn't belong in the analysis. Given what an Area Coach is/does and the related principle of the "power of position," it's likely app auth existed.
    – A.fm.
    Nov 23, 2019 at 16:14
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    @Putvi You misunderstand the situation. You absolutely apply the test when the corresponding issue is put to question. Here, it is. It’s a question of whether the individual had the authority to bind the company when making the statement. There is no better suited time to apply the test than the situation as described. You also seem to misunderstand the nature of a legal test - you don’t just determine that it is an answer. Rather, you apply it to a set of facts and determine whether the facts meet the points of the test. And obviously, it almost certainly does in this situation.
    – A.fm.
    Nov 26, 2019 at 1:08
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    re: "In contrast, it would not be reasonable to believe they had the authority to distribute the contents of the till." Am I correct in thinking that "reasonable" in this context means that this would be a decision which would be made by the decider of facts?
    – grovkin
    Sep 16, 2020 at 14:19

You would have to find out if the person you were talking to has the authority in the company to authorize a change in your wages or if he or she simply knew what some managers are paid and thought you would get paid that to the best of his/her knowledge.

If the person is authorized to make that decision, then yes you are owed the money.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Dale M
    Nov 21, 2019 at 3:42

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