It just makes sense that two people who do the same work requiring the same skill set would be paid the same amount. Unfortunately, in many businesses in America, wage disparity is still a prevalent problem. In most circumstances, women receive lower salaries for doing the same job as their male counterparts. However, it is also possible for people of a different ethnic group or religion to be paid less than their coworkers. Employees may bring lawsuits against your organization if they feel they should be getting paid more, so it is crucial to inform yourself and everyone in HR about the components of this legal field.
What Needs to Be Proved?
If an employee brings a discrimination suit against your company, then he or she is going to have to prove three things.
- There are two people of different genders, races or any other differing groups
- These two people are working at the same place
- These two people are doing the same work yet receive different wages
If a worker is able to establish these three things, then the burden shifts to you, as the employer, to show that something else is the cause of any differing salaries. For example, one employee may have gotten paid more due to the presence of a seniority system.
Two individuals may have different job titles, but if the work they do is precisely the same and one gets paid less, than that is considered discriminatory. There are a few factors that need to be considered in order to figure out if two positions are essentially the same and if the two people should be getting paid equally. When determining a worker’s pay, take the following factors into consideration.
- Responsibility: When looking at two workers, you need to determine if there are any differing responsibilities. Two people may essentially do the same thing, but if one is responsible for meeting with clients while the other just stays in the office all day, then a pay differential would be justified.
- Skill: When considering skill, it is important to look at the attributes that are relevant to the job at hand. For instance, if you have two cashiers working for a retail store and one person has a college degree while the other just has a high school diploma, then the differences in skill would not matter. You cannot justify paying one employee more if it does not affect the actual work being done.
- Establishment: Your business may have several different locations, but they are all under the same umbrella, so to speak. You cannot pay a man at one location more than a woman who does the same work at a different location and claim that they are different.
- Effort: If a man and a woman display the same amount of effort for a certain job, then they should be paid the same. This refers to both mental and physical exertion. If one of those employees needs to do a lot of heavy lifting that the other person does not have to do, then a difference in pay could be viable.
- Working Condition: Finally, a difference in pay may be justifiable if two people do the same job but in drastically different work environments. One person working in a well-ventilated office may be paid differently than someone who has to work in a stuffy warehouse.
There are numerous nuances to equal pay laws, and you may end up using much of your company’s resources fighting discrimination claims. Ultimately, you should objectively look at each job and reach a fair wage for each and every one. You should never pay someone less or treat anyone differently based on gender, race or religion. Saving money by paying a certain group less is not going to do you any good if you have to spend a ton in legal fees down the road.
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The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.