Think You're Being Paid Unfairly? Know Your Rights

Joe Weinlick
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The Equal Pay Act stipulates that men and women must earn the same amount for doing the exact same work in the exact same working conditions while holding similar positions. When a job requires the same skill set among employees, women and men must earn the same income, overtime, bonuses, vacation time and insurance, as the law covers benefits as well as pay. Men and women must also have equal consideration for promotions. Any form of discrimination that impacts your paycheck can lead to a claim filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

If you feel you make less than a man in a similar position at your workplace, you may have rights and remedies. Under the Equal Pay Act, any employer with 15 or more workers cannot discriminate against someone based on sex, and some state laws cover employers with less than 15 workers.

Take action if you feel your employer discriminated against you any time within the past 180 days, as any claim with the EEOC must occur within 180 days of the discriminatory action. After that time frame expires, the EEOC cannot investigate the situation. One of the most obvious forms of discrimination is making less money than a man in the same position. You can file a charge even if you don't work for the company any more. You can also discuss your situation with an attorney.

One important aspect of filing a claim involves keeping records of the discrimination. Keep copies of your pay stubs, email, memos, performance reviews and written correspondence that may indicate pay discrimination. Take notes when you hold vital conversation regarding your compensation. Decide if you know and can trust any key witnesses who can vouch for your claim.

Check with your local office of the U.S. Department of Labor to outline the process of filing a complaint against an employer. Local labor agencies can also assist you in this regard.

Photo Courtesy of MMR Dad at


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