Wage discrimination occurs when an employer pays one employee less than another for substantially equal work. This includes salary, bonuses, overtime pay, profit sharing, vacation and holiday pay, profit sharing, stock options, life insurance, gas allowances, and travel expense reimbursement.
The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women receive equal pay for equal work. Two employees do not have to work identical jobs, but they must be substantially equal. It is job content, and not a person’s title that will determine if the jobs are substantially equal.
What are the Types of Wage Discrimination?
In relation to pay, employers may discriminate against employees in several ways, including:
- Paying employees based on their religion, race, gender, and/or sexual orientation;
- Separating a group of people with the same race into the lowest-paying job category, and not allowing them any opportunity for advancement;
- Paying older employees higher salaries, even though younger employees are equally qualified; and/or
- Affording male employees better job opportunities and higher pay.
Who is Covered Under the Wage Discrimination Laws?
All employees are covered under the Equal Pay Act, and in order to be successful in making a wage discrimination claim, the employee must show the following:
- They have been discriminated against based on their gender, race, sexual orientation, religion, or other protected classes;
- They are performing equal work, yet receiving unequal pay;
- They work in the same place as another worker performing substantially equal pay; and
- They are being paid unequally.
Does My Case Qualify for a Class Action by Discriminated Employees?
A class action lawsuit pertains to a group of people who have been wronged in some way. If your employer has discriminated against a group of employees, it is possible to file a class action lawsuit.
Women are able to file suit under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Groups who have been discriminated against based on race, religion, national origin, or pregnancy may also file a lawsuit under Title VII.
What is an Example of a Class Action Suit?
In recent years, more class action lawsuits have been filed by women who say they are being paid less for performing the same work as their male counterparts. In 2016, pharmaceutical giant, Merck & Co. settled with its female sales representatives in a $250 million gender bias lawsuit.
In 2015, Bayer Corp. settled for an undisclosed amount in a $100 million sex discrimination lawsuit, and in 2016, Farmers Insurance settled with its female attorneys who were making less than their male coworkers.
Do I Need a Lawyer?
If you have been discriminated against, and are considering partaking in a class action lawsuit, it is imperative to contact an employment lawyer. Class action lawsuits can be complex; many variables tie into these cases, and an experienced lawyer will best be able to guide you through the process and represent your best interests in court.