Do you know how much your co-workers are making?

As employees, we’re taught that discussing pay is rude or unseemly. Some employers may even threaten your job for doing so, despite these threats being illegal in California. However, if you don’t know how much your coworkers are making, there is a very good chance you are a victim of pay discrimination.

How do the numbers look?

  • In the U.S., women make, on average, 79 cents for every dollar that men make.
  • Asian women make 72 cents;1
  • Black women earn 63 cents;1
  • Latina women make a staggering 43 cents for every dollar an average white man makes!1 Literally less than half!
  • Women in California lose nearly $39 Billion in pay compared to their male counterparts in part as a result of pay discrimination. That’s roughly $8,000 for every single woman working in California annually.1
  • Women in professional and science jobs earn almost $29,000 per year less than men.2
  • Even in the tech industry, which claims to be trying to attract more women through its doors, is doing so at a cost to each woman of $15,000 per year.2

The reason for this gap can be debated endlessly, with various studies blaming a number of justifications: women failing to negotiate aggressively; being unable to risk being passed over for limited job opportunities; choosing lower paying jobs; being penalized for having children; and of course, explicit discrimination.

Whatever the “reason,” the bottom line is your employer is required to treat you equally, and it is against the law for a business to profit by taking advantage of the many discredited excuses for allowing a wage gap to exist.
Thanks to California’s landmark legislation, you can finally close the gap.

You are entitled to be paid at the same rate as your male coworkers doing similar work. Gone are the days when your employer can justify different pay compensation because of meaningless title modifications, slight differences in responsibilities, or trivial variation in experience and education. When you do the same or similar jobs, you should be getting the same pay. It’s that simple. Equal pay for equal work is no longer just a slogan; it’s the law!

Reject the typical excuses. Wage discrimination exists in virtually every single industry in America. It exists within nearly every occupation. It exists regardless of education level. It exists whether female workers are married or have children. It exists at every level of experience, across every race and socio-economic status. Discrimination even exists in benefits packages offered to women. The only common thread is that women are being paid less than men.

So ask yourself again, “Do I know how much my co-workers are making?” Employers demand pay secrecy so they can keep lower paid employees in the dark and profit from that information blackout. Thanks to this same law, your employer can’t penalize you for discussing pay with your co-workers. You can ask, and they can tell you without repercussions. If your employer attempts to retaliate for these conversations, you may be entitled to further damages.

If you aren’t certain you are being paid as much as your male co-workers, you almost certainly are not. If you are a victim of one of these schemes, you are entitled to get double your lost wages back! Fill out our questionnaire to see if you might be a victim of wage discrimination.



1 – National Partnership for Women and Families

2 – U.S. Census Bureau, 2014 American Community Survey

2 thoughts on “Do you know how much your co-workers are making?

  1. Tsehai Scott

    I most certainly have been paid less and treated differently than my co workers. My case is now being investigated by DFEH. I need help on how I should prepare for the next phase.

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