When it comes to an employee expecting to be paid a fair wage for their work and to not be discriminated against in the workplace, there are several federal and state laws designed to protect your rights.
The Denver employment discrimination attorneys at Lonn Heymann Law Firm, P.C. fight for the rights of clients who have been victimized by the unfair or discriminatory wage practices of their employer.
The Equal Pay Act, passed in 1963, requires that men and women be paid equally for the same type of work performed at the same place of employment. Men and women who perform substantially the same tasks must be paid equally, regardless of the job’s title, amount of education or skills of either employee. If the work is substantially the same, the pay for a man or woman must be equal.
Additionally, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits wage discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or national origin. The parameters of this law are much broader than those defined under the Equal Pay Act.
There have been many studies done on wage discrimination in the workplace, and the findings have shown that some employers will use race, age or gender as a basis for paying one worker less than another doing the same job. Most research has discovered that there can be an average of between 5% – 15% difference in the level of pay for a black man or woman, Hispanic man or women or a white woman, when compared with that of a white male with the same job responsibilities.
Studies have also indicted that wages for black Americans have hovered at around 70% – 80% of those of white workers, and analysis of wage increases over a 45-year span revealed that blacks, women and Hispanic workers received increases at half the rate of white males. Complicating matters is that the most blatant wage discrimination occurs in the lowest economic segment of the country’s workforce, and often involves minority or financially disadvantaged employees who may feel powerless to take action against the employer in an effort to receive equal pay.
Cases of wage discrimination typically take place in specific types of work, although it can occur in most any business, industry or profession. People employed as service workers, clerical staff, teachers and nurses have long been thought to be employed in occupations in which wage discrimination has been an issue.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the median annual earnings for African American woman were only 67.9% of that of all men for full-time, year-round workers. Latinas’ earnings represented just 58% when compared to all men in the workforce.
More than 25 state legislations have introduced bills dealing with pay equity, and in 2009 the House of Representatives passed the Paycheck Fairness Act, which was written to broaden the levels of protection outlined in the Equal Pay Act. Senate hearings took place in March 2010, where the bill is pending approval.
Those employees who feel that they have been discriminated against must file a written charge with either the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, (EEOC), or the Colorado Civil Rights Division, (CCRD), prior to embarking on a lawsuit against the employer. There are some qualifications that apply when filing a charge with the EEOC to determine whether or not your employer must abide by the Equal Pay Act, among them the number of total employees in the company. CCRD requirements are broader in the scope of their protection of employees, and cover those employed by government agencies, educational institutions, and private employers.
President Obama signed a law in early 2009 that deals with the time limit on when an employee who feels they have been discriminated against may file a charge with the EEOC. In Colorado, an employee may file a formal charge within 300 days from the time a) the decision to pay the employee a lesser wage was made by the employer, b) the employee becomes subject to the decision, or c)the employee becomes affected by the decision, which can include each time the employee received wages, benefits or other forms of compensation which resulted from the decision.
If you or a family member feels they have been unfairly discriminated against by an employer, contact the Colorado employment discrimination attorneys at Lonn Heymann Law Firm, P.C. to learn how we may be able to help you. We will explain our experience and case results involving wage discrimination lawsuits in a no obligation consultation, and begin to aggressively fight for justice and the back pay you may deserve.
Call Today – (303)825-9100