Employment law attorney shaking hands with client

Fighting For Equal Pay in New York

By Douglas Lipsky

New York is known for being a progressive city; however, pay discrimination remains a persistent issue. By working with an experienced employment law attorney, you can fight for your right to equal pay. This blog drills down on pay discrimination in all its forms and what you can do about it. 

What is Pay Discrimination?

Pay discrimination occurs when employees with similar qualifications, experience, and job responsibilities receive different wages based on factors unrelated to their job performance, such as gender, race, or age. This practice is unjust and illegal under federal, state, and city laws. 

Does Pay Discrimination Affect Men and Women Alike?

While pay discrimination is often associated with unequal pay between men and women, this issue can affect employees of all genders. Pay discrimination can occur in various forms, including:

  • Unfair pay practices based on race or ethnicity
  • Age-related pay disparities
  • Wage differences due to sexual orientation or gender identity

But gender-based pay discrimination remains a significant concern. According to data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, women earned 83 cents for every dollar paid to men in 2021, highlighting the ongoing fight for equal pay. 

Federal Laws Prohibiting Pay Discrimination

Several federal laws exist to combat pay discrimination and promote equal pay, including:

  • The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) prohibits employers from paying different wages to employees perform substantially equal work regardless of gender.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin in various aspects of employment, including compensation.
  • The Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) prohibits employers from engaging in pay discrimination against employees 40 and older. 
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against qualified disabled employees. 

New York Laws Protecting Workers from Pay Discrimination

In addition to federal protections, New York has enacted several laws to safeguard workers against pay discrimination, including:

  • The New York Pay Equity Law prohibits differential pay rates because of protected class status.
  • The New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL) prohibits discrimination in any aspect of employment, including compensation, based on various protected characteristics, including race, sex, age, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability.
  • The New York City Human Rights Law (NYCHRL) offers even broader protection to workers in New York City by prohibiting pay discrimination based on a wide range of protected characteristics.

Why You Need A Pay Discrimination Lawyer

If you believe you are a victim of pay discrimination, having proper legal representation is essential. An experienced pay discrimination lawyer can choose the appropriate action and guide you through the legal process. Moreover, a skilled attorney will aggressively advocate for your rights, negotiate with your employer, and seek the compensation you deserve in an arbitration or court proceeding. By working with an accomplished employment law attorney, you can be confident knowing that a professional is fighting for your rights and interests.

The Bottom Line

Employers can consider several factors when determining an employee’s compensation, including experience, education, training, and seniority. However, pay discrimination based on gender or another protected class is illegal. The best way to protect your right to equal pay is to consult an experienced employment lawyer.

About the Author
Douglas Lipsky is a co-founding partner of Lipsky Lowe LLP. He has extensive experience in all areas of employment law, including discrimination, sexual harassment, hostile work environment, retaliation, wrongful discharge, breach of contract, unpaid overtime, and unpaid tips. He also represents clients in complex wage and hour claims, including collective actions under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act and class actions under the laws of many different states. If you have questions about this article, contact Douglas today.