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Rice Law Office Blog

This blog reviews important legal issues including: personal injury, employee compensation, workers compensation, discrimination and wrongful termination.

Five Things You Can Do If You Think You Have Been The Victim of Pay Discrimination On The Basis of Your Gender

1) Try to resolve the situation informally by meeting with your supervisor to discuss your concern.

Of course, this only works if the person that you believe is responsible for the discrimination is not your supervisor. If the person treating you unfairly is your supervisor, you might try contacting a human resource staff person or whomever is designated in your employee handbook to address workplace issues.

It's a great idea to review your employee handbook policies on discrimination before you undertake this step.  Further, if you are a member of the union, you will want to consult with your union representative. If the informal approach is inappropriate for your circumstances, you may want to consider more formal steps to resolve the situation, such as filing a discrimination charge.

2) Educate yourself about your rights 

Get educated about the laws and policies that impact your wage rights. You can visit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website which enforces the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. You might also want to visit the federal, or your state Department of Labor website, or contact an attorney who provides free consultations.  

While it is always a good practice to arm yourself with as much information as possible, nothing beats speaking with an attorney who practices employment law in your state. An experienced attorney can help you apply the facts of your circumstance to the laws available, so you can determine what's best for you.  

3) Be aware that there are time limits known as statutes of limitation (SOL) within which you must file a claim for unfair wage practices.

These statutes of limitation vary by law, so it is important that you act quickly if you wish to file a legal claim. Some laws such as title VII give you as little as 180 days (or 300 days depending on the state) within which to file a claim. In New Hampshire, some statutes provide you with up to three years within which to file a claim. You will need to consult with an attorney to determine which time limits apply to your circumstances, but you do not want to wait.

4) Be sure to keep accurate records

If you've been treated unfairly and you decide to file a charge or complaint under state or federal law, you will need to be able to convey the facts of your circumstances as clearly as possible. This means you will need specific information with dates times and witnesses to give you the best possible protection.

Therefore, whether you've decided to file a charge or not, it's important to keep copies of any documents related to the employment discrimination, such as your paystubs, emails, memoranda, letters, performance evaluations and disciplinary actions. Think about whether there are any witnesses to the discrimination you have experienced. Keep notes, if necessary, to help you remember key dates or conversations.

And last but not least, keep copies of all these documents in a safe place, so that you would have access to them even if you were terminated without notice.

5) Obtain legal assistance, if necessary.

This could be through your union representative or with an attorney practicing employment or discrimination law. Even if you think you can't afford an attorney, you might be surprised to find that many attorneys offer free consultations and in certain cases, will represent you on a contingent basis, whereby the attorney doesn't get paid unless he or she prevails on your behalf. In addition, you might be eligible for a pro bono attorney through New Hampshire legal services or your local law school program, where law students provide free or reduced cost legal services as part of their training.

Bottom Line

If you think you might be experiencing pay discrimination on the basis of your gender, be proactive by reporting the wrongdoing, educate yourself about your rights under the law and under your employers policies, keep accurate records, contact your state or federal anti-discrimination office, and if necessary, obtain legal counsel to assist you in bringing a claim.

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