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Workplace Discrimination and Low Compensation

By Gregory Thyberg on August 31, 2018


An employment contract in a business meetingAs a nation, we believe in equal pay for equal work. Sadly, certain companies fall far short of wage equality. A number of companies pay employees lower wages simply based on who they are as people rather than their title and position. Paying someone a lower wage because of their identity is a form of workplace discrimination, and it should never go unpunished.

The Sacramento, CA attorneys of ThybergLaw would like to look at the federal and state laws about wage discrimination and how they may apply to your case.

Federal Equal Pay Laws

There are different federal laws passed over the years to help eliminate pay disparities between individuals who perform the same job.

  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 sought to eliminate wage disparities related to an employee’s sex. The law required equal work for equal pay among men and women, which included hourly wages, salaries, and even bonuses.
  • Regarding racial, religious, and cultural discrimination, equal pay and employment opportunities are covered in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
  • For disabled Americans, their wages and salaries are protected by Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

The California Equal Pay Act

The state has its own legal protections for workers under the California Equal Pay Act, which was signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in October 2015. This law and amendments to it in 2016 helped protect workers from wage discrimination on the bases of sex, race, ethnicity, religion, and/or disability.

What About Legal Protections for LGBTQ Workers?

While there are no explicit federal laws about employment discrimination on the basis of an employee’s gender or sexual orientation, members of the LGBTQ are protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act as interpreted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). However, there is some discussion about how this interpretation will hold up in courts without explicit language about LGBTQ rights.

Examples of Wage Discrimination

Wage discrimination through lower wages can take many different forms. Some examples include:

  • A woman in a management position in a company being paid a lower salary for her work than a man in the same position at the company
  • A person of color being paid a lower hourly wage than their white co-worker who does the exact same job
  • A muslim employee being paid a lower wage after the employer learns about the employee’s religious practices
  • A transgender employee receives a lower holiday bonus than a co-worker simply on the basis of gender

None of these situations is acceptable, and employees should not feel they have to accept being discriminated against simply for being who they are.

Seeking Legal Action Over Wage Discrimination

If you discover that you are being paid a lower wage than a co-worker who does the same job, you can go to court with these findings without first filing a formal complained with the EEOC. A worker has two years to file an Equal Pay Act claim from the date they learn about the wage disparity; in cases of willful violation of the Equal Pay Act, the employee has three years to file their claim.

Speaking with an Employment Law Attorney

Going it alone in the court of law is not advisable. State and federal employment laws can be complex, and without proper knowledge and expertise in these matters, you may put your claim in jeopardy.

By working with an experienced work discrimination lawyer, your can focus on moving forward in your job or career as your lawyer holds your employer accountable for their actions. They will offer you peace of mind as they seek damages to address your lower compensation.

Contact Our Team of Attorneys

To learn more about holding employers accountable for discrimination and other kinds of illegal practices at work, we encourage you to contact our team of employer rights attorneys. The team at ThybergLaw is here to go over your legal options and help you pursue justice. Your can reach our law firm by phone at (916) 204-9173.

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