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What Do I Do if I Believe I’m Being Paid Unfairly?

Apr 5, 2021 | Workers' Compensation

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What Do I Do if I Believe I’m Being Paid Unfairly?

You’re having lunch with a group of colleagues when the topic of salary incidentally comes up in the discussion. Perhaps you overhear a coworker mention his or her pay, which is substantially more than yours. After lunch, the conversation begins to eat at you, considering the employee that earns more than you has been around approximately the same amount of time with the company and seemingly with similar performance reviews.

Do you have a reasonable complaint?

Wage and hour disputes are at the heart of employment law. Women have fought for equal and fair pay compared to men in the workforce for decades. However, it’s just one of many forms of wage and hour disputes that constitute discrimination.

What do you do if you recognize unfair pay or other practices that violate employment law? Wage and hour disputes are a delicate matter, which is why there are appropriate steps to take to avoid burning bridges with an employer or colleague.

Wage and Hour Disputes

What are your rights if you are getting paid less than coworkers with comparable tenure and rank? How do you find out if there are wage discrepancies at a place of employment?

These are all complicated questions that employment law can answer. For this reason, attorneys exist that specialize in representing employee rights in the workforce. Often, bringing up wage and hour disputes with an employer can result in conflict or make the situation even worse, which is why hiring an outside professional is preferred.

Equal pay is a significant issue in the United States, especially as more females enter the workforce and compete with males for the same positions. Discrimination against women in the workplace is common yet is just one form of wage and hour disputes. Unfair pay affects people of all races and genders.

Discrimination Is Common in the Workforce

For starters, private employers are allowed to determine pay within reason. For example, every employer must oblige by the minimum wage standards set by the state or federal government. Of course, any job that refuses to pay at least the mandatory minimum wage rate for the state is in violation of employment law.

Secondly, private employers have the right to dictate pay based on rank or tenure. Therefore, it is natural that someone who has been with a company for 20 years and has a supervisor role would earn more than an employee that just started with the company.

However, most of the wage and hour disputes become a form of discrimination when the employee is making substantially less than colleagues with comparable rank and tenure. Thus, when the company violates employment law, the next question is why?

People are discriminated against in the workforce for the same reasons there is racism and stereotypes in the world. The employer simply may be prejudice against the background of an employee or the religion they choose to practice, though it is rarely that straightforward.

For example, some religious groups have been discriminated against in the past because their beliefs make it necessary to take breaks throughout the day for prayer. It often conflicts with employers who feel like it’s unfair or unreasonable to grant more breaks to these individuals. Consequently, the company may try to force the individual to resign, coerce them to change their religious practices, or pay less in an effort to deter the employee from staying.

What To Do When You Earn Less Than Coworkers?

There are justifiable and unjustifiable reasons for earning less in pay compared to a coworker. The biggest problem with both situations is how do you bring it up to a supervisor?

Make no mistake about it, confronting a supervisor over unfair pay is an uncomfortable situation for a lot of employees. Therefore, it’s more common to remain silent about the discrimination to avoid upsetting the supervisor or company.

Unfortunately, this prevents a lot of wage and hour disputes from getting charged for what they are—discrimination.

As a result, there are many workers that feel safer talking to a lawyer that specializes in employment law compared to a supervisor. Not only can these professionals discuss the details of your dispute in a confidential setting, but they can also inform you if the employer is violating anti-discriminatory legislation or other practices of employment law.

Have You Been Discriminated Against in the Workplace?

Workers that are discriminated against in the workplace, including victims of unfair pay, have a worthwhile dispute. Consequently, do not remain silent even if the company or organization is trying to sabotage or muzzle your complaint.

Contact our employment law team at Stewart & Stewart for a free consultation. We are available for consultations 24/7, whether you feel more comfortable speaking in-person or over the phone. These conversations are 100% confidential with zero obligation. Contact us today at (866) 926-2414.

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