The gender gap has been a contested workplace issue for decades. Companies that justify wage discrepancies between men and women often claim it is in direct relation to their previous salaries. In other words, women are paid less at a new job because they were paid less at their old job. However, a new ruling by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on April 9, 2018, makes such actions illegal.
According to Court, it is illegal to use a woman’s previous salary as a reason for paying her less than a man and this practice violates the 1963 Equal Pay Act. Although some states have passed their own laws making it illegal to ask about prior wages during the employment process, this new ruling states explicitly a woman cannot be paid less than a man for doing the same job based on her prior salary.
Dealing with Equal Pay Issues
Determine How Much You Should Be Paid
Request a Pay Raise
Hire an Employment & Labor Law Attorney
Before you start making claims against your company and seek legal consultation, you first need to know how much you should be earning in your position. There are plenty of ways you can find this information out. If you work for a public company, the average salary for a particular job should be listed. Granted, these are not entirely accurate, but they give you some baseline for what you should be making.
You can also look up salary data by going to association websites for the particular industry for which you work. Regardless of your occupation, you can find base salaries using these membership sites. Or, you may only want to find out what your coworkers are making. If they have the same role, and same experience, and are male, and getting paid more, there’s obviously some unfair treatment occurring within your company’s organization.
Just because you are not receiving the pay you think you should for your particular position, it does not mean you need to seek legal recourse. Instead, it may be less expensive and time-consuming to ask for a pay raise. You need to be strategic when doing so, however.
You should start off by asking for feedback. If the consensus is you are doing a great job, and there is not much room for improvement, your talents and hard work speak for themselves. You should then follow up by sharing some of your long-term salary goals and highlight why you think you deserve a raise. Be as specific as you can to show you’ve put thought into your potential pay increase.
It is also smart to back your pay request up with actual statistics. This way, those in charge of payroll cannot devalue what you do for the company and make excuses for why you should be paid less.
If your pay-raise attempts are denied and you truly believe you’re being paid less than your male counterpart based on gender, you should seriously consider getting help from an attorney. An employment discrimination attorney, to be specific, can help you out in this instance.
They specialize in cases just like yours and know exactly what it takes to build an effective case. Should you go to court, they can compile ample evidence to show exactly how your pay is unlawfully lower than it should be based on your gender. These attorneys will evaluate your facts to determine if you have suffered a violation of the Equal Pay Act, and they’ll take the appropriate steps to protect your legal rights to equal pay.
Being paid less just because of your gender is a hard and angering situation to be put in. You deserve equal treatment and pay, and you can get both when you respond to this pay discrepancy in a proactive manner. As long as you gather evidence, don’t remain quiet, and seek legal counsel when the time is right, you can get justice and pay that’s completely fair.