I live in eastern Europe, and I work for a mid-sized (West European) IT Company, where all salary-related issues are handled directly by the CEO. About six months ago I requested a series of documents from my employer, in order to get a mortgage to buy an apartment.
Later on, I had my annual performance/salary review. I was met with a lot of praise regarding my activity, but also with a very firm response of "no budget for a raise this year". I was told that maybe there'd be another discussion about it in six months. The outcome had nothing to do with my performance.. He stated that I was a high performer, and gave me more responsibilities.
The CEO's reasoning was that my current salary was "more than enough" to cover living costs -- and in particular, he mentioned me as still being able to cover my mortgage payments with my current salary. He warned me that: "it would be very risky to try and find another job", as if my having a mortgage makes it impossible for me to just quit.
Where I live, it's not possible to get a loan/mortgage from a bank without one's employer being involved. I really don't feel comfortable about my employer using this kind of information as leverage against giving me a raise.
Is there anything I can do to prevent this information from being used as a bargaining tool against me, and still maintain a good professional relationship? Or is this justifiable? Should I have anticipated this happening?