What To Do If You Are Being Paid Unfairly?
By Corey Hanrahan
What to do if you are being paid unfairly? The answer to this question really boils down to what the definition of “unfairly” means. As long as you are being paid minimum wage (and applicable overtime rates, of course), there is no legal right to “fair” wages. You are, however, protected from being discriminated against not only under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, but also under California’s Equal Pay Act. However, determining whether or not there is a legal violation, usually requires the help of an experienced employment attorney.
“…there is no legal right to “fair” wages. You are, however, protected from being discriminated against not only under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, but also under California’s Equal Pay Act…“
It is generally a good idea to determine if the “unfair” wages you are experiencing could support a discrimination claim under California law (and if so, what statute that claim could be brought under to maximize liability and value). For example, the required proof (and burden of proof) are different between claims brought under the Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Equal Pay Act. Those two statutes also provide for different defenses for the employer. So, it is important to know which statute you can, and should, bring your claim under .
California’s Equal Pay Act protects employees against pay disparity based on sex/gender, race and national origin. To prevail on an Equal Pay Act claim, an employee must prove that the employer paid an employee of another race, gender or ethnicity higher pay for “substantially similar work.” Unlike federal law, California’s Equal Pay Act has no discriminatory intent element – and therefore, an employee does not need to prove that the employer intended to discriminate. “Substantially similar work” means that of the same composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions. A focus is put on whether an employee is able to prove that the jobs at issue share a “common core of tasks.”
If you are suffering from a pay disparity because of your sex/gender, race or ethnicity, contact The Hanrahan Firm for a free consultation to see how we can help you.