If you are a victim of wage discrimination in the workplace, you likely feel as though you have nowhere to go, no one to turn to. You may even try to let it go, thinking it was a bookkeeping mistake. But when you realize the mistake was intentional, you need to know what to do. Take a look at these tips for dealing with wage discrimination.
#1 Collect Evidence
Once you realize that this is not a simple bookkeeping mistake but rather an intentional, discriminatory act, you need to begin gathering evidence. Such forms of evidence may include documentation that a male colleague doing the same or similar work to you is being paid more, or is being promoted faster.
Make sure whatever information you gather is information you have legitimate access to. If you have to go digging to the point of breaking company policy, it will only hurt your case. Typically, safe information to gather include:
- Offer Letter
- A Pay Stub
- Performance Evaluations
- Job Descriptions
- Email Chains
#2 Talk to Your Employer–or HR
Depending on your employer’s stance on wage and gender discrimination will determine if you should go to them directly or speak with HR. Your best hope is that HR or your employer realizes the wrongdoing and goes through a wage audit to see if this is happening across the board. However, there is always that greater possibility that this is going to fx your wage discrimination.
#3 Begin the Investigation
Depending on how you wish to handle the wage and/or gender discrimination case will determine who you want to begin the investigation.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) will be interested in your case and help you file by notifying your company. However, going this route can take a very long time. Alternatively, you can hire an employee rights attorney to tackle your wage discrimination case.
In some cases, a wage discrimination case may not be worth pursuing if the evidence is not substantial. By meeting with an attorney, you will know if it’s worth going through with a case and from there, how to navigate the lawsuit.
#4 Settle or Lawsuit
Depending on the terms of your employment contract will determine whether or not you will be able to settle the wage discrimination case out of court. Sometimes, you’ll have no choice but to settle it because of an arbitration agreement.
But if you did not sign an agreement or you cannot come up with a fair resolution, going to court may be your only choice.
#5 Preparing for Court
If your wage discrimination case goes to court, your attorney will be able to tell you under what legalities are you suing. Often, it may be both the Equal Pay Act and Title VII.
Remember though, these cases can be drawn out, your work-life balance may become unsettled, and if you are still working for your employer, you may face issues in the office space–even though retaliation litigation should protect you, it just isn’t always the case.
If the court sides in your favor, you may receive compensatory damages for back pay, lost wages, and physical and emotional distress due to the issues. In addition, if the court finds severe wrongdoing by the company, they may be charged with punitive damages as a reminder to not make the same mistake again.
Wage discrimination cases can be complicated and stressful. Knowing how to handle it and how to find an attorney to represent you is only part of the battle. If you are in need of a New York employment attorney, you need Brown Kwon & Lam for your wage discrimination case.