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Compensation discrimination due to gender

In New York, both state and federal law prohibits discrimination against an employee in their compensation due to their gender. In addition to gender, people who are discriminated against because of their sexual preferences, such as lesbian, gay or bisexual workers also receive protection.

The law prohibits employers from compensating employees differently based on their gender or sexual preferences. The prohibition extends to more than salary, encompassing all forms of compensation. People who receive less pay in various categories, such as bonuses, allowances, reimbursements, travel expenses, severance packages, vacation and sick pay, and benefits, may also have a claim even if their salary is the same as other similarly situated workers.

When determining whether a person has received equal pay for equal work, the court will look beyond the person's job title and review the functions of the actual job performed. Unlike other types of workplace discrimination claims, people whose claims fall under equal compensation discrimination are able to file suit in court without first going through the EEOC complaint process. A separate piece of legislation, the Equal Pay Act, exists to specifically address situations in which people are discriminated against in compensation at work based on gender.

When a person believes he or she has been discriminated against in compensation due to their gender or sexual preferences, they may wish to consult with an employment law attorney. Like other types of claims, gender discrimination have associated statutes of limitations. People must file their case within a set time limit after they become aware of the difference in compensation. If several people of the same gender or sexual preference are paid less than workers of the opposite gender as a general matter, they may wish to consider filing a suit together against the employer on a class action basis.

Source: U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, "Sex-Based Discrimination", November 18, 2014

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