What to know about pay discrimination

Workers in New York and throughout the United States are entitled to work for employers who do not discriminate when it comes to providing compensation. Workers are protected by a variety of legislation including the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. They are also protected by Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). Employers are not allowed to discriminate in any forms of payment whether they are wages, bonuses or stock options.

The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women be paid the same wage for doing the same job. Only the type of work performed is analyzed for the purpose of this law. Furthermore, employers must base an employee’s pay on the skills needed for the job as opposed to the skills an employee may have. For instance, an employer generally couldn’t justify paying a cashier with a college degree more than other cashiers doing the same tasks.

Under Title VII and the ADA, employers are not allowed to discriminate with respect to pay based on attributes such as race, gender or national origin. In some cases, employers may be acting in a discriminatory manner even if a pay policy seems neutral at first glance. For instance, paying a head of household more than other workers could be considered problematic.

Workers who feel as if they are not being paid in accordance with employment laws may wish to seek the advice of an attorney. It may be possible for employees to file lawsuits or make internal complaints about a pay policy. Those who are subject to pay discrimination or retaliation for making such a claim might receive compensation. This may occur as part of a settlement or after a trial.

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