If you are an employee or job applicant in Philadelphia, you are working to receive compensation. It is reasonable to believe that you and your co-worker are receiving equal pay for equal work. However, when you are not receiving equal pay and there is not a legal reason, your employer is in violation of state and federal laws. Equal pay violations are illegal, unethical, and discriminatory. For the past 25 years, the experienced attorneys at the Derek Smith Law Group have helped people, just like you, get the proper compensation they deserve.
When Does Discrimination Effect Equal Pay in Philadelphia?
Most times people working the same job or substantially the same job have the right to receive the same pay rate. When this doesn’t happen there must be a lawful reason. Otherwise, the difference in compensation may be based on discrimination. An employer may not make any compensation decision based on:
- National Origin
- Age (over 40)
- Military Status
- Sexual Orientation
- Gender Identity
These are known as protected classes under the law and cannot be the basis for equal pay violations.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1963 protects employees and job applicants in firms with 15 or more people from discrimination. This includes unequal compensation based on protected class status.
The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) protects employees and job applicants in companies with 20 or more employees from discrimination based on age if you are over 40, including compensation discrimination.
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) protects employees and job applicants in companies with 15 or more employees from discrimination based on disabilities, including equal pay violations.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) prohibits employers with 15 or more employees from using sex or gender as the basis to determine an employee’s or job applicant’s pay rate.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 came from a Supreme Court decision and extends the statute of limitations for unequal pay violations every time a paycheck is issued with the discriminatory pay amount.
Pennsylvania’s Equal Pay Law prohibits all employers in Pennsylvania from providing unequal pay to men or women because of gender.
The Pennsylvania Human Relations Act and the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance protects employees or job applicants in companies with 4 or more employees from receiving unequal compensation based on being a member of a protected class.
If you believe you are not receiving fair compensation for your work, you must present evidence of wage discrimination through direct evidence, disparate evidence, or policy evidence.
- Direct Evidence. If your boss told you that you would not be getting benefits for your family because your spouse should already have benefits, you would have direct evidence of compensation discrimination based on sex. Direct evidence is often called, “the smoking gun.” It is when your boss states verbally or in writing that you are being discriminated against because you are a member of a protected class. This may be said directly to you or overheard as it is being said to another person. It may be emailed or texted directly to you or you may see it as it is sent to another person.
- Disparate Evidence. Most times, disparate evidence is available to show wage discrimination. Disparate evidence shows a pattern of treatment based on protected class status. This is a cause and effect pattern that can be used to demonstrate a culture within the workplace.
- Policy Evidence. Policy evidence is when a policy automatically discriminates against an employee or job applicant. For instance, if there is a “glass ceiling” policy directed at minorities, this is policy evidence of wage discrimination.
In certain instances, unequal pay is legal.
These instances include:
• Seniority. An employee has worked with the company longer, and therefore, has received pay raises to provide a bump in pay rate.
• Experience. If a person is hired that has more experience than you, he may be paid a higher salary based on the advanced stage of his career.
• Additional Duties. A person may appear to have the same position as you, but may actually be a supervisor or manager. This person will have additional responsibilities and will receive more money as a result.
Compensation is much more than wages. It is vacation time, health insurance, sick time, and other benefits. Therefore, equal pay discrimination is more than just not receiving the same wage for the same job. Here are some examples of wage discrimination in Philadelphia:
- A woman is denied benefits for her husband because her husband should already have benefits
- An individual is paid less than his co-worker who has the same experience and position and started with the company at the same time because he is black
- A man is denied sick pay to care for his son who is home sick from school
- A Muslim employee is only provided 5 vacation days when he reached 90 days, while his Catholic co-worker in a similar position was given 10 vacation days at his 90-day mark.
- Women are only hired as servers or hostesses in the restaurant, whereas men are hired only for bartender or busboy positions. Women are never permitted to be hired or promoted to bartenders and therefore are never permitted to earn higher wages
- An employee over the age of 65 is not provided any additional raises and is not permitted to renew his disability insurance policy he holds with the company
- An Asian employee is told he cannot be promoted any longer because he has hit the “glass ceiling” put in place for all minority employees
- A man and a woman are hired at the same time for the same position. She has more experience than he does and has a higher level of education. The man is offered a higher pay rate than she is to start. Each of his pay raises is also a higher percentage than hers even though she is more productive.
- Termination for complaining to HR for wage discrimination
Title VII, ADEA, and ADA claims all must be filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC provides a time limit of 300 days for these claims to be filed in Philadelphia. The EEOC will then investigate the claims and issue a Right to Sue Letter to allow you to file a complaint in the federal court within 90 days.
EPA claims can be filed directly with the court, instead of through the EEOC, within 180 days of the last incident. However, under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the 180 renews every time a new payroll check is issued under the discriminatory wages.
Claims filed under the Pennsylvania and Philadelphia laws must be filed within 1 year of the last incident of wage discrimination.
When you bring a case to the courts for wage discrimination in Philadelphia, it makes sense to look for relief. The courts have several remedies available, including, but not limited to:
- Reinstatement of employment and/or benefits
- Reimbursement for benefit premiums
- Reimbursement of medical and other related expenses
- Reassignment or termination of the person responsible for discriminatory behavior
- Reviewing and revamping policies
- Attorney’s fees
- Back pay
- Future pay
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Punitive damages
When you file a lawsuit in Philadelphia, it can last anywhere from 4 to 6 months to a year or longer, depending on the details of your case. If your employer is willing to negotiate a fair settlement with you prior to going to trial, your case may settle in as little as 4 to 6 months. However, if your employer insists on going to trial, the case may take 8 months to a year or longer to settle. The trial may then last a few days to several weeks or more before a judgment is entered by the court.
Making the decision to file a lawsuit against your employer is never easy. However, as you contemplate your options, here are a few things you can do right now to help your case along.
- Contact an experienced equal pay discrimination attorney immediately.
- If you are still employed, do not quit your job without consulting with an attorney first.
- If your company has an HR department, file a complaint regarding wage discrimination in writing.
- If your company has a wage discrimination policy, follow it.
- Gather evidence. Document every incident, including what occurred, when and where it occurred, who was involved, and any witnesses.
- Do not waste time. Your time to file a lawsuit is limited. Do not wait until it is too late.
Contact Our Experienced Equal Pay Discrimination Attorneys in Philadelphia for Your Free Consultation
You should never have to worry about whether you will be paid unfairly because of who you are or what you look like. If you are the victim of compensation discrimination in Philadelphia, the experienced lawyers at the Derek Smith Law Group (one of FindLaw’s top discrimination law firms) can help. We have won over $165,000,000 for our clients and we want to help you. Contact us today at (215) 391-4790 for a free consultation. We do not collect any money until you win your case.
Different Types of Workplace Discrimination Cases We Handle:
- 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