Wage disparity in the workforce is a pervasive issue that affects workers from all walks of life. In recent years, reports have highlighted the gender wage gap and racial pay disparities, but pay inequality can affect any worker based on occupation, education level, and location.

Though we often think wage discrepancies are based on gender or race, other factors contribute to wage inequality. It can also be seen in various fields within an occupation; for example, a female doctor may earn substantially less than her male counterparts. Employers may favor those who can afford to work longer hours over those with similar qualifications who cannot commit extra time to their job. In this way, workers with fewer resources can be at a disadvantage when it comes to wages.

How to Discover if You’re Being Paid Fairly

It is not always easy for workers to determine if they are being paid unfairly due to wage disparity in the workplace. While many employers try to dissuade employees from discussing their pay, citing confidentiality policies against such discussions, workers have the right under federal law to discuss their pay freely.  

Workers can take these steps to learn whether they’re being paid fairly.

  1. Discover what other people in your field are making. Speak to colleagues and research salaries on sites such as Glassdoor or PayScale to get an idea of how much pay you should expect for your job title and experience level. Although you may learn general information, it’s a great starting point.
  • Identify any potential biases in your workplace. If you’ve noticed specific individuals receive more privileges than others (such as bonus incentives or more benefits), it’s worth considering whether those advantages could influence your compensation package compared with other workers in similar roles.
  • Ask questions of your colleagues and your employer. If you believe a wage imbalance exists between staff members doing the same job, ask your employer about it directly. This will ensure those discrepancies are addressed openly and properly investigated if necessary.
  • Negotiate when you start a new job and after you’ve received a strong performance review or completed a successful project. When offered a new role or promotion, remember that you may negotiate your salary. Understanding what other employers offer will help strengthen your case when asking for a wage increase or a better benefits package.

Sommers Schwartz Fights for Fair Pay

Wage disparity has been an issue in many workplaces for too long. However, by being aware of your rights and taking proactive steps to ensure you’re compensated fairly for your hard work, you can make progress toward being paid fairly compared to your peers. 

If you are earning less than your colleagues in similar positions, you may have a cause of action against your employer for pay discrimination. It may seem scary, but the team at Sommers Schwartz is here to help you, guide you, and protect your rights.

Contact a Sommers Schwartz fair pay attorney today to confidentially discuss your case and learn how we can help.

Jesse Young

View all posts by
Jesse Young

Jesse Young represents clients in serious employment disputes, such as severance negotiations, discrimination, retaliation, whistleblowing activity, employment contracts, terminations, and compliance. In addition, he has appeared in hundreds of wage-and-hour lawsuits and hundreds more arbitrations arising under the Fair Labor Standards Act and similar state laws.