These days, promotion opportunities are hard to come by. But when an organization does have the opportunity to give someone a boost up the corporate ladder, here are some guidelines to follow to make it meaningful to both the employer and the employee.


1. How do companies/organizations define promotions? Is it a new job title, new grade, more pay, a combination of all (or some) of these things or what?

Companies can define promotions as definitive elevated adjustment in job title, pay, and/or responsibilities. Not all promotions include all three at one time but the employee is made aware of the increase and sees this in a positive light.


2. What are the various ways that people get promoted? (i.e. applying for position, pitching it to boss or just getting recognized for great work?)

Promotions can come as a result of managerial recommendation, seniority (especially in unionized environments), and highly commendable work by the employee on a consistent basis. Also of note: Companies must abide by USERRA guidelines regarding employees on military leave. Upon their return they are entitled to any promotion that would have been given to them if they were still in office for the duration of the leave.


3. What are the essential elements that employers need to have in their promotion policy to minimize risk?

In order to minimize risk, it would be in a companies best interest to have written guidelines, a fair “promotion review board,” and fair enforcement of policy in spite of personal (negative) opinions of managers towards their employees.


4. What other legal issues need to considered when it comes to promotions?

As mentioned earlier, USERRA guidelines indicate that individuals that are out on military leave must be given any pay raise, promotion, or vacation pay accrual that they would have earned if they were still in the office during the duration of their leave.

EEOC guidelines prohibit discrimination in any employment action on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, sexual orientation, or any other protected class.