Often referred to as compensation or pay discrimination, wage discrimination is a significant violation of your rights. As an employee, you are protected under equal pay laws designed to ensure equal pay for similar work. This means it is illegal for an employer to fail to pay their employees the same amount when successfully performing substantially similar work due to factors such as their age, race, or religion.
What is Classified as Wage Discrimination?
It's essential to fully understand wage discrimination and what it may look like, as people who are victims of this type of discrimination often lose thousands of dollars each year as a result. For example, a common misconception is that for an employee to be a victim of wage discrimination, they would be affected directly in terms of their compensation. Although salary is a definite form of wage discrimination, it can also take place in other areas, such as:
- Overtime pay
- Stock options
- Life insurance
- Vacation and holiday pay
- Reimbursement for travel expenses
- Bonus plans
- Gasoline and cleaning allowances
Is Wage Discrimination Justifiable?
Although it is not legal for an employer to pay their employee less because of discriminatory reasons, it is legal for them to pay different amounts if it is reasonably justified and accounts make the entire salary difference. This often includes reasons based on the following factors:
- A merit system
- A seniority system
- A system that measures earnings by production quality or quantity
- A bona fide factor such as training, education, or experience
How Well am I Protected?
Fair Pay Act
Initially, the definition under the Fair Pay Act only stated "equal work," making it easy for employers to navigate around if employees have the same job title. The changes allowed for the protection of "substantially equal work." This made it more apparent that what was important was not necessarily the title of the job being worked but the nature of the work itself.
Additionally, as a way to prevent employers from making an employee's new salary low due to a previously earned salary being based on discriminatory reasons, California enforces laws that also help better protect the rights of employees in the state. The CALIFORNIA LABOR CODE § 432 provides new leverage during salary negotiations. This labor code also:
- Prohibits employers from asking about prior salaries
- Required employers to provide pay scales (age ranges) upon reasonable request
Contact a Professional
Even if unsure of the validity of your case, anyone who may suspect they are a victim of wage discrimination should contact a skilled attorney immediately, as you may be eligible to take legal action and be compensated for your unequal pay. Working with an attorney can be very beneficial because it allows the opportunity to receive personalized legal advice based on the details of your case and ensure you have a complete understanding of the legal options you may have moving forward.
People who suspect they are victims of wage discrimination often are hesitant to take action because they fear being retaliated against by their boss. This is known as retaliation, which occurs anytime an employee is being harassed or punished at work because they (or someone closely associated with them) decide to complain or take legal action for pay discrimination they may be experiencing. Although it can be a bit nerve-wracking, knowing you are protected is important.
To better protect employees and their rights, laws enforced by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prohibits employers from displaying all forms of retaliation.
Barkhordarian Law Firm Can Help
Being a victim of wage discrimination can impact your day-to-day lifestyle and livelihood. Therefore, when working for an employer, it is essential that you know your rights. Never hesitate to question your employer or seek professional help anytime you feel you are experiencing this type of treatment.
Here at Barkhordarian Law Firm, we have a team of skilled attorneys who are dedicated to helping you get the justice you deserve. With years of similar legal experience, we have what it takes to review your case and determine what is best for you moving forward. With our firm on your side, you can rest assured knowing that we will work tirelessly to do all we can to see your case succeed, all while offering you the support you may need every step of the way. Let us get you the compensation you deserve.
Contact our team today at (888) 514-5112 or visit us online and schedule your free consultation with one of our award-winning attorneys.