Wage discrimination, or pay discrimination, is the illegal practice of paying an employee differently based on protected characteristics such as race, sex, gender, religion, and disability. This difference in pay includes but is not limited to salary, bonuses, overtime pay, vacation, and other benefits. While many understand that this form of discrimination is illegal, it’s important to know exactly what rights protect you from pay discrimination.
The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 created a minimum wage and solidified the right to overtime pay. In response to its lack of protections against wage disparity based on sex, President John F. Kennedy signed into law The Equal Pay Act was signed on June 10th, 1963. This act ensures all forms of compensation must be equal between different sexes who perform substantially equal jobs. These jobs do not have to be exactly the same but rather similar in responsibilities, skills, and effort for them to be substantially equal.
Title VII is part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that covers a wide range of employment decisions, covering everything from hiring and firing to the conditions of employment. Title VII also covers the salary and benefits an employee receives. This act also strictly prohibits an employer from discriminating against you in any way on the basis of race, color, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, and religion. Later, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 amended Title VII to include pregnancy status within the act’s protections.
Congress put quite a few different acts into place in response to Title VII’s lack of protections for certain groups. For example, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 forbids employers from engaging in discriminatory employment practices against employees 40 years or older. Similarly, The Rehabilitation Act of 197s and Titles I and V of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 prohibits employment discrimination against disabled employees in public services and federal programs. More recently, the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) also prohibits employment discrimination based on genetic information.
While many rights protect you from pay discrimination, they don’t stop employers from trying. At the Law Firm of Tamara N Holder, our equal pay lawyers will fight tirelessly to expose discriminatory practices and help you receive the compensation you deserve.