The Gender Pay Gap, and What You Can Do About It
The gender wage gap in California has narrowed over the last several decades, but there’s still a long way to go to achieve equality. Census data reveal that California women still make about 80 cents for every dollar that a man earns.
Sadly, the gap widens even further when comparing female minorities to white men. Black women earn 63 cents for every dollar that a white man earns, and Latinas earn only 43 cents on the dollar.
The Gender Pay Gap Affects Millions of California Working Women
It’s important for women to understand that wage inequality is still a problem in today’s workplace. You may have heard that the gender pay gap has been closed, or that it results from women choosing lower-paying jobs or taking time off work for their children. Both of those claims are false. Studies on the gender wage gap account for all these factors. If they didn’t, the gap would be even larger.
Fortunately, there are several laws that protect women’s rights to earn equal pay. The first step is to learn about these laws and how they apply to you.
The Equal Pay Act
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 is a federal law that addresses the gender pay gap (and the right of women to earn a living) by requiring employers to provide equal pay to men and women who perform equal work within the company. “Equal work” does not necessarily mean the man and woman have to hold the same position within the company. Rather, it means that a man and woman must be paid equally if they hold jobs that are equal in skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions.
There are some exceptions to this law. Unequal pay is permitted when it is done on the basis of seniority, merit, or quality of work. For example, if a man has been at a company for 15 years, his employer can pay him more than a woman in a similar job who has only been employed with the company for a few months. The key thing to understand is that, in this example, the decision to pay the man more is based on seniority, not gender. Only when gender becomes involved in determining pay does the Equal Pay Act apply.
California’s Fair Pay Act
Employees in California are also protected by the Fair Pay Act, which is a state law known as one of the best equal pay laws in the country. This law requires employers to provide equal pay to men and women who perform “substantially similar” work. This is one of the reasons why California has a lower gender pay gap than many other states.
Working in Different Locations Doesn’t Matter
Additionally, in the Fair Pay Act, a company’s workers do not need to work at the same location to be able to compare their pay. For example, let’s say a man and a woman both hold similar positions within the same company, but the man is in the company’s Santa Monica location and the woman is at the company’s San Bernardino location. Under the Fair Pay Act, employers must provide equal pay to both these individuals even though they are in different locations. Therefore, the Fair Pay Act lowers the standard that a victim needs to meet in order to prove wage inequality.
Employees Can Discuss Salary
The Fair Pay Act also makes it illegal for employers to prohibit their employees from discussing or inquiring about co-workers’ pay. This portion of the law makes it easier for women to determine if they are victims of wage inequality due to the gender pay gap, by promoting transparency in the workplace and ensuring that women are given the right to investigate whether they are being paid equal wages.
However, employers often prohibit salary discussions anyway, and even when they don’t it’s often still seen as socially taboo to talk about wages in the workplace among coworkers. Fortunately, you have someone to confide in at Shegerian & Associates if you believe that you are not being compensated fairly.
When Does Gender-Based Pay Discrimination Occur?
It can be very difficult to determine when a pay gap is actually the result of gender discrimination. Many times, if pressed, an employer will talk about merit, quality of work, or other legitimate factors. Gender pay discrimination is easy to disguise. That’s why, if you suspect you’re a victim of the gender wage gap, you really need to seek out legal consultation.
Compensation for Victims of Wage Inequality
Victims of wage inequality may be able to recover the difference in lost wages, plus interest. If the case ends up in court, victims may also be able to recover attorneys’ fees from their employer.
At Shegerian & Associates, you don’t have to pay a dime until we win the gender pay gap case for you and you get a cash verdict or settlement. This means that you don’t need the money to pay a lawyer today. Shegerian & Associates does it this way because we know that the legal system is so expensive that most ordinary working folks just can’t afford it. With our contingency-based payment model, you’ll never have to put money out of pocket for our services.
Seek the Justice You Deserve
If you believe you are a victim of the gender pay gap, you have every right to fight back to defend your rights. Unfortunately, many people don’t know what their rights are, and for them that’s the end of the matter.
But at Shegerian & Associates, we want you to have a chance to get justice. With our help you don’t have to sift through books and pages of legal copy to find out if you’ve been wronged. Our team of passionate, fierce, knowledgeable, and compassionate individuals are ready and waiting to discuss your situation and give you the professional advice you need.
Don’t let yourself lose out on years of pay that is rightfully yours. The gender wage gap is wrong, and you don’t have to put up with it. Contact us today to speak to a competent and experienced employment law attorney.