Austin Equal Pay Lawyer
What is equal pay discrimination?
You already know that women are paid less than men for the same work. This is not a myth. In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act (EPA) which requires that women and men must receive the same pay for the same work within the same company. While this law has been in place for 55 years, equal pay is still a constant issue everywhere: Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, Central Texas, and across the state and the country. Women find themselves making less than men who hold the exact same position as them and who are doing the same work. This is a violation of the EPA and is therefore illegal.
Recent statistics show that white women earn $0.79 for every dollar earned by their white male counterparts. For black women, it is $0.63. For Native American woman, it is $0.57. For Latina women, it is $0.54. Lastly, for Asian women, it is $0.87. These statistics are alarming but not surprising. While these numbers have improved in the last 55 years since the EPA came into law, there is still a lot of work to do.
I have a feeling my male coworker is making more money than me for the same job, how do I confirm this?
Many employers will tell you that you are not allowed to discuss your salary with other employees. This, however, is not true. Legally, you are allowed to discuss your pay with whomever you would like. The best way to find out if your suspicions are true is to ask around. You could also go to human resources and request to disclose your coworker’s pay, but they are not obligated to give it to you. Word of mouth, or office gossip, may be your best bet to confirm your suspicions.
If you work for the state or a state agency, the salary information is public record. A simple Google search or a public information request could provide you with the information you need to know.
I have an entry-level job and my male coworker with the same job drives a brand-new Porsche while I only make enough to drive a used Honda. Do I have an equal pay case?
Maybe, but you will need some more information. You cannot assume that someone makes more than you do without some proof of the wage disparity. Do a bit more digging to further confirm or reject your suspicions and confirm whether you are the victim of an equal pay violation.
My male friend works for the same tech company as I do and holds the same position, but I am in Texas and he is in California. I found out he makes twice as much as I do, is this illegal?
It might be. Equal pay is a strict liability statute, which means the employer has the job to prove that they are not discriminating against you on the basis of gender. There may be a company rule that employees in California make more than those in Texas because the cost of living is higher in California. This reasoning would be an employer’s affirmative defense and may absolve them of liability, depending on the circumstances. But again, that is for the employer to prove. If you are in this situation, you should take action and contact an Austin equal pay lawyer.
I know a male employee who does exactly what I do at my company, but he is in the Dallas office while I work at the Austin office. He told me he makes more than I do, does this fall under equal pay discrimination?
Similar to the example above, this may be a city-by-city rule. Perhaps Dallas employees make more because of the higher cost of living, for example. Again, it would fall on the employer to explain this pay discrepancy. If you are in this situation, you should contact an Austin equal pay lawyer.
I am an African-American woman and my white female counterpart is making more than me for the same work, is this equal pay discrimination?
The EPA only covers pay discrimination by gender, while Title VII provides protection for pay discrimination not on the basis of sex, which includes race, religion, or nationality. Minority women often make less than white women, as statistics show. If you are an African-American woman who is making less than a white man for the same job, that could potentially be both an equal pay violation and a Title VII violation. If you are experiencing these issues, contact an Austin equal pay lawyer as soon as possible.
My male coworker does the exact same job as me but makes more, is that legal?
It depends. It is legal to pay men more than women for the same job only if the reason for the disparity is not based on gender. Some valid reasons may include seniority, merit, and quantity of quality of production. Mainly, if the reason the male counterpart is making more is something other than gender, it may be legal. However, of the employer’s reason is a pretext for gender discrimination, you may have a valid claim.
I am a business consultant and my male coworker with the same position makes more than me, is this allowed?
Again, it depends. If you both have the same workload and same level of education and experience, you may have an equal pay discrimination case. It would be best to contact an Austin equal pay lawyer to better understand your rights and options.
I confirmed that I am making less than my male counterpart at work, what do I do now?
Take action! This treatment is unfair to you, and it’s time to do something about it. Contact an Austin equal pay lawyer to better understand your options and how to proceed.
You have at least two main options going forward: file a claim under the EPA or file under Title VII. If you file under the EPA, you can go directly to court. You do not need to file with the Equal Opportunity Commission (EEOC) first. If you are filing under Title VII, you will first need to file a charge with the EEOC. The EEOC will first investigate your claims, and generally later allow claims to proceed in court
How long do I have to file charges?
If you want to file under the EPA, you have at least two years since the last discriminatory paycheck. While you may have two years to file, it is best to take action as soon as possible.
If you file under Title VII, you have 180-300 days from the incident of discrimination to file with the TWC/EEOC.
How are equal pay cases settled - can the employer just lower my male coworker's pay?
No. Employers who break the equal pay law must increase the pay of the woman to match the man’s. The employer cannot lower the man’s pay to match the woman’s pay. If you succeed in an equal pay act claim, you could also be compensated for back pay, lost benefits, liquidated damages, and attorney fees and court costs.
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