Unequal Pay Claims


I don’t think I’m being paid fairly compared to men doing the same job.


How do I prove that I am not receiving equal pay for equal work?


In order to meet the basic requirements for an equal pay claim, you must show:
1. That your employer pays different wages to employees of the opposite sex;
2. That you perform equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort and responsibility; and
3. That the jobs are performed under similar working conditions.


What does pay discrimination look like?


Pay discrimination occurs when a woman is paid less than a man who holds a substantially similar position.


What laws protect me from receiving unequal pay for equal work?


New York Labor Law § 194 provides that women are to be paid the same wages as men for jobs that require equal skill, effort and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions.


How do I prove that my work requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility as my coworker?


While you don’t have to show that your job is identical to a higher paid position, you need to show that the two positions are "substantially equal." Courts look at the similarities in job descriptions, rather than similarities in job titles.


How do I know if I have a "like or comparable" position?


The courts look to whether or not the content of the job is substantially equal, rather than merely comparable. Job descriptions play a vital role in this determination, rather than job titles.


Must I prove that my employer intentionally paid me less because I am a female?


No. You do not need to establish your employer’s discriminatory intent. You only need to show that you were being paid less for equal work. It falls on your employer to show that it paid you differently for legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons.


What could my employer do to deny my allegations, and how do I respond to its denials?


There are certain valid justifications that will allow your employer to unequally compensate you in comparison to a male co-worker. Your employer may counter your allegations by producing evidence showing that the wage disparity exists as a result of:

1) a seniority system;

2) a merit system;

3) a system which measure earnings by quantity or quality of production; or

4) any other factor not based on sex. It is ultimately up to you to show that the defenses your employer raises are actually a pretext for sex discrimination.



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