Both the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibit sex-based pay discrimination. Title VII and other federal statutes protect against this and other biases as well, and many state laws provide additional protection. If you feel your employer is engaging in pay discrimination against you, follow these basic steps.
Your Rights Under the Law
1. Put it in writing. Record the discriminatory pay practices you believe are taking place. Keep copies of your salary records, pay stubs and any other wage-related information.
2. Do your homework. For more information on your rights, call the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) hotline at 800.669.4000. Even if you aren’t ready to file a discrimination charge, you can speak with an EEOC counselor about your legal rights. Also, find out if your state has an equal pay law and check which provisions are included.
3. Seek help. Consult your employee handbook. Your company may have an equal employment officer or human resources representative who can help you understand the internal grievance procedure, file an internal complaint, or access other tools to resolve problems, if you feel comfortable.
4. Get legal advice. Consider speaking with an attorney who has experience with sex discrimination in the workplace. Learn more about your options.
5. Act quickly. Depending on the path you pursue, there may be a time limit involved. State laws, Title VII, and the Equal Pay Act may all have different time limits involved in filing a claim. Consult the EEOC website for more information.
6. Find a support network. Discrimination at work is a difficult thing to face alone and the process of fighting discrimination can be very stressful. Seek support from friends and family.
7. Prepare for a long haul. Filing a discrimination lawsuit is a lengthy process, but others have succeeded, and you can too. Continue to do good job at work and keep a record of what you’re working on. Make copies of your job evaluations and any letters, emails or memos that show you are performing well and keep them at home.
AAUW Public Policy Priorities
Workplace harassment is a pervasive issue. When workers face harassment, it impacts their success in the workplace, and ultimately, their economic security.