How To Dispute a Job Title Change

If your employer changed your job title without notice, here’s what you can do

An employee questions a job title change.

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A job title is the name given to a role in a company or organization to summarize an employee’s tasks, responsibilities and expectations, and even the complexity involved. Sometimes, organizations or departments restructure and change titles for jobs—for example, to provide more organization-wide consistency, or to better describe your daily work.

After all, job titles are important. According to one 2022 study, job titles can impact an employee’s overall job satisfaction. Another study showed that inflated job titles with unfulfilled high expectations can leave employees dissatisfied.

So what does this mean for you if you’ve discovered your employer changed your title? Learn more about what to do when your job title gets modified, from finding out what the change means in your daily work life to how to discuss the change with your manager.

Key Takeaways

  • A job title summarizes an employee’s role.
  • Job titles vary greatly by company, and a title change isn’t always a bad thing.
  • It’s important to ask how this title change will affect your salary and bonus structure.
  • You may be able to negotiate more pay or other perks if you can’t dispute a title change.

Can You Dispute a Job Title Change?

If an employee isn’t happy about their title change, they may want to request it revert to the previous title. While it’s generally possible to dispute a job title change, that doesn’t mean the employee’s dispute will be effective.

“If your job title is changed and you don’t like it, you might be able to dispute it,” said Sarah Doody, career strategist and founder of resume and coaching business Career Strategy Lab, via email with The Balance. “However, there are many reasons why your job title might change. So before you dispute a change to your job title, it’s important to understand why the change happened in the first place.”


A job title change isn’t always bad. For example, in some companies, job titles are tied to salaries. If you’re given a raise, your job title might change to reflect your pay grade. A job title change may reflect your responsibilities more accurately or provide a clearer career path.

Talking To Your Manager

First, find out why the job title changed from the person who communicated the new title to you. If Human Resources told you about the job title change (and not your boss), then ask HR why the job title change occurred. If your manager told you about the job title change, ask your manager.

“Speculating about what a job title means will only lead to unnecessary stress and assumption-driven thinking,” Doody said. “If your job title changes, use it as an opportunity to start a dialogue with your manager about your role and responsibilities both now and in the future.”

Questions to ask your manager or HR:

  • Will your day-to-day responsibilities change?
  • Will your salary or bonus structure be affected?
  • What does this title change mean for your potential career progression at the company?
  • Will you report to a new supervisor?
  • Will you be responsible for supervising anyone new?
  • How will external stakeholders perceive this title change?

Then examine whether you’re unhappy with the job title or any changes in your responsibilities and role. If you’re dissatisfied with just the title, it’s important to recognize that job titles don’t mean all that much in the grand scheme. Job titles mean different things at different companies. “This is why it’s crucial that you articulate your skills and experience on your resume, LinkedIn, and cover letter,” Doody said.

Before speaking with your manager about a title dispute, it can help to keep the following tips in mind:

  • Know what you hope to achieve during the conversation.
  • Schedule the conversation so your manager has time to discuss the issue with you.
  • Write down what you wish to discuss and bring that list with you to your meeting.
  • Actively listen to your manager’s explanations and take them into consideration.
  • Be open to any feedback given.
  • Be honest about how you feel about the title change while reassuring your manager you’re on board.
  • Share what you think might be necessary to achieve a workable solution.


Some governmental and academic organizations may offer a “desk audit” in response to a dispute over a job title. A desk audit gathers information from you and your supervisor about your duties and responsibilities to accurately assess your role.

Other Considerations When Your Job Title Changes

If your job title is a deal breaker for staying at your current company, Doody recommended you start job searching immediately. “If you are unhappy in your role, it will start to impact your performance and emotions,” Doody said. “The sooner you leave the company, the better, for everyone involved.”

If the job title isn’t a deal breaker, consider negotiating things such as a raise or benefits such as flexible working hours and location, professional development budget, or more vacation.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can an employer change your job title?

“According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), a company can change your job title at any time, provided there aren’t clauses in the employment contract that state otherwise,” Doody said. If you’re unsure of what clauses are in your employment contract, you can ask your human resources department to review a copy of your contract if you don’t have it saved.

What is the difference between a job title and job position?

A job title essentially summarizes someone’s job position, whereas a job position is specifically the roles and responsibilities of a particular employee. You can think of a job title as a very brief and possibly more generic summary of a job position.

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The Balance uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Barpanda, S., & Dwivedi, S. (2022). Job Titles and Job Satisfaction: An Ethno-Phenomenological Inquiry with Reference to a Transportation and Utility Firm. International Journal of Business Anthropology, 12(1).

  2. Academy of Management. "When Job Titles Turn Into Promises: The Signaling Effects of Inflated Job Titles."

  3. Los Angeles Community College District. "How to Effectively Communicate With Your Supervisor."

  4. Washington State Office of Financial Management. "Step 5: Conduct Desk Audit."

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