You know the phrase, “an honest day’s pay for an honest day’s work.” What happens when that honest day’s pay is different for different people doing the same honest day’s work? It becomes equal pay discrimination and it is illegal under federal and local laws in Miami. The experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped people just like you who have been denied equal pay get the compensation they deserve.
When Does Discrimination Effect Equal Pay in Miami?
Equal pay discrimination in Miami occurs when an employer uses measures not related to skill, education, or responsibility to determine an employee’s or job applicant’s compensation. This could manifest is denying benefits, providing a lower wage, or denying pay for holidays, vacation, and sick time. Wage discrimination should never be made based on an employee’s or job applicant’s:
- National Origin
- Age (over 40)
- Military Status
- Citizenship Status
- Gender identity
- Sexual Orientation
These are considered protected classes and should never be used in making wage or compensation decisions in the workplace.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate against any employee in a company of 15 or more employees based on a protected class. The law also prohibits wage decisions from being made based on a protected class status.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers with 20 or more employees from using age as a determining factor in compensation.
The Americans with Disability Act (ADA) prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from using disability to help determine pay rates.
The Equal Payment Act of 1963 (EPA) prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from payment men and women different wages for the same job.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 allows the statute of limitations to start over every time a paycheck that is part of a wage discrimination claim is written.
Title XXXI, Chapter 448 of the Florida Statutes prohibits wage discrimination based on gender.
The Florida Civil Rights Act (FCRA) prohibits Florida employers with 15 or more employees from discriminating against an employee or job applicant, including using discriminatory factors to determine wages.
When filing a lawsuit for equal pay discrimination in Miami, it is important to have evidence to prove your claim. This can come in the form of direct evidence, disparate evidence, or policy evidence.
- Direct Evidence. If you are told verbally or in writing that your pay rate is based on something other than experience, education, or responsibility, you may have direct evidence of wage discrimination. This is known as the “smoking gun.” The evidence can be said or written directly to you or can be said or written to someone else about you.
- Disparate Evidence. When there is a pattern of compensation being awarded based on issues such as gender, race, sexual orientation, or any other protected class, you may have disparate evidence for your claim. This evidence established a pattern of behavior that is based on the knowledge of your status in a protected class.
- Policy Evidence. A policy that, by nature, discriminates against a person can be used as evidence. Therefore, a policy instituting a “glass ceiling” for minorities would be an example of policy evidence.
Like everything, there are exceptions to the rule. There are times when pay disparities are legal. The following qualities can allow for pay rates to differ between employees who appear to have the same job:
- If an employee has been working in a position longer than another employer, that person has seniority. It would be appropriate for him to make a higher wage than the newer employee.
- A person who has more experience than another starting in a position may be entitled to a higher wage because he requires less training and a lower threshold for error.
- A person who may appear to have the same position as you but is actually a supervisor or manager has more responsibility than you. Therefore, that person will likely have a higher wage than you.
Compensation includes more than a salary. It includes benefits, sick days, holiday pay, and vacation pay. Here are some examples of compensation discrimination in Miami:
- A man and woman are hired at the same time, with the same experience, for the same position. The man is paid a starting salary that is higher than the woman’s starting salary.
- A black employee is denied a pay raise even though he has received rave employee reviews and a wonderful annual review report
- All employees that are not Catholic are refused higher-paying positions, even though they are more than qualified.
- An employee over the age of 55 is denied any pay raises even though company policy is to provide raises to employees annually based on their reviews and cost of living increases
- A male employee is denied paid vacation leave to take care of a sick child.
- A female employee is denied health insurance benefits for her husband because her employer says he should have his own benefits, even though male employees are offered benefits for their spouse
- A married gay man is denied the paperwork to change his tax filing for work after getting married because his employer refuses to recognize his marriage as legal.
- A restaurant refuses to allow women to work as bartenders, which could provide them with higher wages
- An employee is terminated for complaining to HR about wage discrimination
Title VII, ADEA, and ADA claims must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). In Miami, the time limit to file these claims is 300 days. The EEOC will investigate the claims to make sure they follow the guidelines of the law and issue a Right to Sue letter, which gives you 90 days to file your lawsuit in federal court.
You do not need to file a claim with the EEOC under the EPA. You are provided a time limit of 180 days to file a complaint in federal court for an EPA claim. However, under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the 180 days renews every time a paycheck is issued with the discriminatory pay rate.
Finally claims filed under the FCRA or Title XXXI of the Florida Statute must be filed within 1 year of the date of the last incident. Under Florida’s work-sharing agreement, any claim filed with the EEOC or under Florida laws will automatically be filed with the other governing agency to ensure the claim has the best chance of being heard.
When you file a claim for wage discrimination in the courts, you are looking for relief. The remedies commonly available through the courts include, but are not limited to:
- Reinstatement of employment and/or benefits
- Reimbursement of benefit claims
- Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
- Reassignment or termination of the person responsible for the discriminatory behavior
- Reviewing and revamping policies
- Attorney’s fees
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
A lawsuit in Miami can last anywhere from 4 to 6 months to a year or longer, depending on the details of the case. If your employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement, your case may be settled within 4 to 6 months. However, if your employer refuses to negotiate with you, you will need 8 months to a year or longer to prepare for trial. The trial may then take an additional few days to several weeks or longer until a judgment is entered by the courts.
As you decide what to do next with your lawsuit, here are a few things you can do to help move your case along.
- Contact an experienced wage discrimination attorney immediately.
- If you are still employed, do not quit your job until you consult with an attorney.
- If your company has an HR department, file a complaint for wage discrimination in writing.
- If your company has a wage discrimination policy, follow it.
- Gather evidence. Document every incident, including what occurred, where it occurred, when it occurred, who was involved, and any witnesses.
- Do not waste time. You have a limited time to file your lawsuit. Do not wait until it is too late.
Contact Our Experienced Equal Pay Discrimination Attorneys in Miami for Your Free Consultation
You have the right to receive a fair wage that matched your co-worker’s fair wages. If you are the victim of equal pay discrimination in Miami, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group (one of FindLaw’s top discrimination law firms) can help. We have helped our clients win over $165,000,000 and we want to help you. Contact us today at (305) 946-1884 for your free consultation. We do not collect any payment until you win your case.
Types of Workplace Discrimination Cases We Handle in Miami:
- Race Discrimination
- Color Discrimination
- National Origin Discrimination
- Religion Discrimination
- Age (over 40) Discrimination
- Disability Discrimination
- Pregnancy Discrimination
- Gender or Sex Discrimination
- Sexual Orientation Discrimination
- Genetic Information Discrimination
- Ethnic Discrimination
- LGBT Discrimination
- Hair Discrimination