When Employees Are Not Compensated Equally, They Can Take Action
Employees who have the same credentials, experience, and that perform the same tasks should be compensated equally; there is no gray area. Yet, this scenario is not always what occurs. If you do not believe that you are being compensated fairly, there are things you can do.
It is easy to succumb to rumors or hearsay regarding pay. However, before you assume that you make an unfair amount in comparison to another employee, you want to perform your due diligence to ensure this information is true. Although you may not be able to go directly to HR and ask for this information, you may be able to gain some information from the other employee. Keep in mind, filing a blatantly false claim can backfire on you, so do as much research as you can.
Fortunately, the law is on your side when it comes to equal pay. Decades ago, the federal government established the Equal Pay Act (EPA). This act was implemented in an effort to eradicate the pay disparities based on gender that were prevalent at the time. However, this policy can be applied to all pay disparities, no matter their motive. For this reason, if you are in this situation, be sure you understand that the law is on your side.
As expected, there are some misconceptions when it comes to paying disparities. For example, some people believe that the two roles in question must be identical in every way for an equal pay claim to be filed. However, in reality, the two roles can be different. As long as the qualifications, tasks, responsibilities, and work environments are the same, if one person is making less than the other individual —it could be a pay disparity that needs to be investigated.
The outcome of a successful equal pay claim can vary. However, generally, the individual filing the claim will receive backpay that is equal to the difference in pay they should have been receiving. However, in some situations, if the equal pay dispute involved other unfair actions, such as failure to promote or to receive a raise, the individual may also be awarded compensation that is equal to the value of these lost wages.
Speak with an attorney if you have experienced any of the above-mentioned situations or any other incident in which you do not believe you have been paid fairly.