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Hello Amy,

Today I learned that the man I trained to do the exact same job that I do now, makes 4 dollars an hour more than me. He has a degree which is unrelated to the field we work in (medical/legal report production). I have no degree, but I do have 12 plus years of related experience in the field.

If I file a claim, how much of a gray area is there, if my employer says things such as, he wasn't paid more because he is a man, he is paid more because of his degree? Not to mention the fact that this employee has been put on probation for poor production, and continues to produce significantly lower numbers than I do. I also have a feeling that they will say that he relocated from another part of California for this job, therefore they can justify paying him more, or that they needed to fill the position quickly, etc. I am not sure what to make of this since under the Equal Pay Act, it mentions "a differential based on anything other than sex". What employer would come right out and say that they paid him more because he is a man? Won't they come with just about any reason to justify paying him more?

Anyway, I'm confused if I have a fight or not. I just finishedtraining another man, with no degree to do my exact job description....who also makes two dollars an hour more than I do.

Just looking to see if it is worth pursuing....obviously a degree isn't required for this position, as they wouldn't have me doing it if it was a requirement, plus my experience surpasses his anyway....do I have a case? Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you so much,



Dear Lisa,

Thanks for your note - and you are right in both pointing out this discrimination and in being concerned that your complaint might be dismissed due to the vagueness of the law. Sadly, that is the problem with most anti-discrimination cases and laws. There are too many loopholes, including how they define experience, which does seem to be the snag that you will run into.

However, even though these gaps in the law exist, it doesn't seem like you have anything to lose for filing a complaint. And its important that all claims get filed, so when there is one that has the potential to back itself up, there is additional contributing evidence, such as other complaints. In California (San Francisco), there is something called "Equal Rights Advocates", which is an organization whose expertice is workplace discrimination cases. I suggest you reach out to them to get more concrete legal advice, mine is based mostly on anecdotal evidence. I hope that helps and I do hope that you file a complaint. Sadly you might not feel the impact of it, but it's likely that others will.

Good luck -- Amy

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