Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Neighbor Won’t Stop Giving Kids Candy

DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a human resources professional, and the recent writer who should have gotten a promotion with a raise had more options than to wait and be patient, especially as it appears her employer has been dragging its feet before the pandemic.

The letter writer needs to have documentation that this is a promotion and there will be a raise. She needs to know the new salary and have information about when or if there are conditions that must be met. She should also ask for back wages for the raise in the form of a bonus. For example, say the raise is $2,000 a year, but it is not issued for six months. The letter writer would be owed $1,000. In short, she needs to speak up for herself.

Even just emailing something like this to her employer would be helpful documentation in case it refuses to provide an offer letter. She can set terms like, “We will evaluate where business is in 90 days/six months/business has recovered to 80% of pre-pandemic levels.” And the letter writer should clearly document both the new responsibilities and how she has been carrying them out. This is needed so if the raise isn’t given or if she is fired, she has written proof that she can share with an attorney. She should send this letter to her manager and HR or someone else in the company and BCC her personal email. If there is no response in a week, email again.

If the company doesn’t respond by email, have a conversation. Afterward, send an email summary and BCC herself. I would also send an email of every conversation I had about this: “Today is June 13, 2020, and I spoke to Manager John. He said he would check with the owner.” -- HR Input

DEAR HR INPUT: Thank you for your clarification. Several people have written to me about this topic. I am grateful to share your professional wisdom on the matter.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

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