Most people tend to think of employment discrimination as relating to the hiring or firing process. But did you know that wage discrimination is also a major issue across the country? Unfortunately, employment discrimination goes beyond just hiring and firing. Employment discrimination can happen in nearly every employment decision, from applications and interviews to assignments and transfers, promotions, pay, and benefits. As Baton Rouge’s aggressive wage claim lawyers, we want to help you with your wage claim case.
What is Wage Discrimination?
Wage discrimination occurs when employees performing similar work do not receive similar pay. Wage discrimination also occurs when a difference in pay has an unlawful basis such as race or sex. Wage discrimination based on an employee’s membership in a protected category like race, disability, or sex, is prohibited by anti-discrimination laws. Relevant laws include Title VII, the ADA and ADEA, state anti-discrimination laws, and the Equal Pay Act which specifically addresses pay discrimination based on sex, according to WorkplaceFairness.org.
American Progress notes that equal pay is often framed in the public debate as being solely a women’s issue. And while women do frequently suffer from wage discrimination, a closer look at the data reveals that wage discrimination is a problem also experienced by many other different groups, including men, older workers, workers with disabilities, and more. Nearly one-fifth of wage discrimination charges include an allegation of wage discrimination based on age, and a slightly smaller percentage of charges allege wage discrimination on the basis of disability, says American Progress.
How Can Wage Discrimination Happen?
According to StopUnpaidWages.com, there are two main types of wage discrimination in the workplace: Disparate Treatment Discrimination and Disparate Impact Discrimination.
Disparate Treatment Discrimination is when an employer specifically targets employees based on their protected characteristic such as sexual orientation, gender, religion, race, veteran status, disability, and age. The employer’s actions in disparate treatment discrimination cases must be motivated by a discriminatory intent. When an employer refuses to hire, refuses to promote, refuses to give a salary increase, harasses, demotes, terminates, or takes some adverse action against a particular employee, the action might be considered to be disparate treatment. Disparate Treatment Discrimination is the most common form of discrimination that occurs in the workplace. In discrimination cases falling under these categories, employees bear the burden of showing that they were the victim of workplace discrimination. This involves presenting evidence to prove that the facts of the claim are true, preferably with the help of an attorney. The following are elements in cases that involve disparate treatment discrimination:
- The employer was covered by applicable anti-discrimination laws
- The employer took negative employment action against the employee
- The negative action was motivated by the employee or job applicant’s protected status
- The employer’s negative employment action caused the employee to suffer some kind of harm
- An employee may not be able to successfully bring a lawsuit against their employer if they cannot prove one or more of these elements, according to com.
However, wage discrimination isn’t always as clear and simple. Discrimination in wage claim cases can be very subtle, which is another reason that you might wish to work with a legal team experienced in employment law when arguing your wage claim case.
Disparate impact discrimination is a form of discrimination that occurs when an employer adopts a company policy that applies to all workers but has a disproportionately adverse impact on employees who belong to a certain protected class than those who don’t. The policy appears not to discriminate against any employee, but such a policy might be illegal if it has a more negative impact on employees with a certain protected characteristic. In a disparate impact discrimination case, the employer can be responsible for any discrimination experienced even if the employer never had any discriminatory intent in the first place, according to StopUnpaidWages. For example, in an attempt to motivate employees to be fit and healthy, imagine if an employer adopts a policy that rewards employees with longer lunch breaks whenever they use the stairs instead of the elevator. Employees who suffer from disabilities may not be able to participate and this policy might disparately impact them, resulting in discrimination.
Are you dealing with wage discrimination in your workplace? Perhaps you think you might have a case but you’re not sure. Whatever kind of wage discrimination you’re facing, we can help you understand the severity of your case and help you gather the evidence needed to get the wage compensation you’re entitled to. Don’t keep suffering wage discrimination in silence. The legal team at Miller, Hampton & Hilgendorf is here to help! Call 225-343-2205 or send us a message online.
3960 Government St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70806