It was recently announced that Harriet Tubman will appear on the U.S. $20 dollar bill—but does finally having a woman on our paper currency make up for the fact the women in our workforce are still paid less than men? That is the question at the heart of Finance Expert Terry Savage's Huffington Post piece "Currency in your Pocket Counts Most." Savage turned to Attorney Kristen Prinz for insight on the issue and what women can do to combat financial inequality at work.
According to Attorney Prinz, the best way for women to become aware of their employer's salary policies is to speak to other women at their workplace and in their industry. If it is discovered that there is pay discrimination occurring at a female employee’s place of work, Prinz advises that they should also speak up.
Attorney Prinz recognizes, however, that confronting an employer and making such an accusation can be a risk and many fear that they will lose out on promotions, bonuses, or even be fired for bringing it up. This is why Attorney Prinz advises that woman employees (and any supportive male counterparts) band together for these discussions with employers. She also notes in the article that, unfortunately, it is easier to legally recover damages from an employer when retaliation occurs rather than when there is merely a claim of pay discrimination.
Pay Inequality by the Numbers
On average, a female employee is paid 13 cents less on the dollar than male employees who do the same work. Even in a single payroll period, you could see how dramatically this could effect a paycheck, but over a lifetime, it is estimated a female employee could lose out on nearly half a million dollars in earned income.
What is being done to combat this? On the legislative level, not very much. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was supposed to enforce equal pay-- but study after study, year after year show that it has not. The Paycheck Fairness Act, which would help employees seek equal pay under the Equal Pay act, has been left to languish in Congress for nearly two decades. Until lawmakers act, it is up to employers and employees to work together and arrive at compensation policies that are equitable.
Do you believe you are the victim of workplace discrimination? If so, it may be time to seek legal counsel. The Prinz Law Firm is one of Chicago's premier employment law firms. We know what it takes to assert the rights of the wronged employees that come to us and ensure that they receive every consideration they deserve under the law.
Start exploring your legal options today. Call 312.212.4450 to speak with one of our trusted Chicago employment lawyers now.