Pay Equity: What you don’t know can hurt you



Here’s something you may not know, statistics show that females are paid only about 2/3 the pay males receive for the same work and African Americans are consistently paid less than whites for the same work overall on a national scale.

The 1963 Equal Pay Act requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. Job content (not job titles) determines whether jobs are substantially equal. Now think about that for a moment and review in your mind in the style of the Kevin Spacey movie “Usual Suspects” and see if you can spot who Kaiser Soze really was, or rather the times when you were not receiving equal pay for the work you’ve done?

One reason you may not know if this is happening to you is that you likely do not know your co-workers salaries. And most businesses would like to keep it that way. However policies “forbidding” the discussion of salaries are illegal in fact the National Labor Relations Act ensures employees rights to discuss and share their compensation in order to help each other to provide mutual aid.

So as hard as it may be we as women must talk to each other honestly about pay and find a way to get a “lay of the land” at your place of employment. No one wants to be the “sore thumb” or risk drawing the ire of your boss but we will never be able to change pay inequity until we speak openly about pay. Everyone deserves to be paid fairly for the work they do.

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