gender pay gap
Employment Law

What Should I Do If I’m Paid Less Than Male Co-Workers?

Although things have progressed a lot over the past decades, gender equality is still a major issue across the world – even in advanced countries like Australia. If you feel you’ve been the victim of any form of gender discrimination in the workplace, we’d recommend speaking with an employment lawyer to determine the best course of action.

In this article, we’ve covered one of the major gender inequality issues – the gender pay gap. The simple truth is that it’s illegal for a female employee to be paid less than their male counterparts for the same work. However, it’s not always that simple.

So, what can you do if you feel like you’re a victim of this?

  1. Ensure Your Assumptions Are Correct

For starters, you should speak with your co-workers to determine whether or not you’re truly a victim of gender inequality in the workplace. Unfortunately, this can be difficult due to the stigma associated with money and the unwillingness of people to discuss what they earn.

In this situation, though, you will find that most of your co-workers will be understanding of your situation. The best approach is usually to be open about your concerns and ask your colleagues if they’re willing to share their payment information to help you out.

  1. Figure Out Whether Laws Are Actually Being Broken

Now, the simple truth is that being paid less for the same work is against the law. It doesn’t matter whether the employer is actually paying you less because you’re a woman, or for some other reason – if you’re doing the same work, you should be paid the same.

There are two common exceptions to this, which you should be aware of:

  • Someone can be paid more if they have more experience and have seniority in their role.
  • Higher pay can also result from merit systems or on with performance-based salaries.

If you’re in one of the above situations and are earning less than a male colleague, there may not be anything you can do.

  1. Speak With Your Boss

If you have concerns about your salary and a potential gender pay gap, you should speak with your employer or manager before taking legal action. It’s always worth giving people the benefit of the doubt – there’s every chance that they aren’t even aware of the issue and will be friendly and willing to negotiate a new salary once it’s brought to light.

  1. Take Legal Action

Once you’ve spoken to your employer, one of two things will happen:

  1. They will agree with you and will work alongside you to negotiate a new contract.
  2. They will disagree, in which case you should consider legal action.

If you need to consider legal action against your employer, your first action should be to contact an experienced employment lawyer. They will be able to help you determine the best way to move forward. You can also file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

To put things simply, there’s no excuse for the gender pay gap. If you’re being paid less than your male counterparts for the same job, stand up for your rights and demand a raise.