Best Gender Discrimination Attorney Answers: What can I do if my job pays men more than women? How do I find an equal pay lawyer? Who should I complain to about being paid less than men? Can My Job Pay Less Experienced Men More?
discrimination comes in many forms. Companies put up a glass ceiling to prevent
qualified female employees from advancing or getting a promotion. Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination.
Obviously, wrongful termination or wrongfully firing a woman for engaging in the
same conduct as a man is gender discrimination. In this employment law blog,
our discrimination lawyers focus on equal pay violations – paying men more than woman for doing the same
At The Spitz Law Firm, LLC, our employment
every day with workers who have experienced discrimination issues that are related
to their gender. Many of the problems our attorneys deal with involve
workplaces that favor male employees and allow these men more opportunities to
advance to higher, and better-paying positions. In fact, you may have read
about some particularly noteworthy gender discrimination issues here on this employment
discrimination blog written by our employment lawyers.
(See My Job Promoted A
Less Qualified Man!; Can I Be Fired
Because My Boss Doesn’t Think I’m Feminine Enough?; Can I Still Bring
A Gender Discrimination Claim If I Am Forced To Quit?).
Gender is one of the
protected classes under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of
1964 and the
similar Ohio law R.C. § 4112.02(A). Both employment discrimination laws make it
illegal for an employer to discriminate against an individual based on race/color, religion, gender/sex, national origin, age, and disability
Similarly, The Equal Pay Act
of 1963 requires that
men and women, in the same workplace, and who do substantially similar work,
must be paid equally. To establish a claim under the Equal Pay Act, an employee
must prove that; (1) the employer is subject to the Act; (2) the employee performed
work in a position requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility under
similar working conditions; and (3) that the employee was paid less than the
employees of the opposite sex providing the comparison. Despite the fact that
these classes have been protected for over 50 years, some employers continue to
violate the law. They either just don’t get it or think that they are
above the law.
For example, in a lawsuit filed by a registered nurse, through the Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”), an employer was accused of paying men and women unequally. (See Top
Employment Law Attorney: Do Not File With The EEOC Without Doing This First; File
With The EEOC Or Get A Lawyer? Call The Right Attorney; Should
I Get A Lawyer To Help Me File An EEOC Charge?; and Should
I File With The EEOC On My Own? Call The Right Attorney). In EEOC v.
Interim Healthcare of Wyoming, Interim Healthcare was accused of paying a
female, registered nurse with years of experience, less than a male registered
nurse who had only recently received his nursing license. You don’t have to be
a lawyer to see something isn’t right about this situation. The EEOC filed a
complaint on September 28, 2018, in the federal court in Wyoming accusing
Interim Healthcare of violating the Equal Pay Act and Title VII by paying
employees of one sex at a lower rate of pay than employees of the opposite sex
for substantially equal work.
According to Aaker
and the EEOC’s complaint, Interim Healthcare hired Nicole Aaker, a female
nurse, as a Home Care Registered Nurse, in November 2015. Aaker was a very
experienced registered nurse, having received her registered nursing license
from the Wyoming State Board of Nursing in June 1998. When Aaker was hired by
Interim Healthcare, she had been working as a professional registered nurse for
about 17 years. Interim Healthcare hired Aaker at a rate of $28 per hour.
The lawsuit also
claims that Interim Healthcare hired a male registered nurse by the name of
Bailey Jessee in late May 2015, about six months before Interim Healthcare
hired Aaker. Interim Healthcare hired Jessee as a Home Care Registered Nurse,
the same position into which Aaker’s was later hired. At the time of his hire,
Jessee had only recently received his nursing license from the State Board of
Nursing, having received his license in February 2015. When Interim Healthcare
hired Jessee, he only had about two months of professional nursing experience.
Here is the kicker, Interim paid Jessee, the less experienced male, $29 per hour.
That is a full dollar more than Aaker, a female with over 15 years more
It is bad enough
that Interim Healthcare was paying Jessee more than one female employee, but at
least five other female employees were also being paid at a lower hourly rate.
The breakdown of these five other nurses is as follows:
- A female, registered nurse who had around two years of experience, was paid $26 per hour;
- A female, registered nurse who had around 18 years of experience, was paid $28 per hour;
- A female, registered nurse who had around 30 years of experience, was paid $26 per hour;
- A female, registered nurse who had around 26 years of experience, was paid $28.50 per hour;
- A female, registered nurse who had around one month of experience, was paid $26 per hour. It is worth noting that Interim Healthcare gave this registered nurse a raise to $28 per hour after she had worked at Interim Healthcare for about a year.
Something that makes
this case unique is that it was the male nurse, Bailey Jessee, who was the
first to raise the issue of unequal pay with Interim Healthcare. Let’s pause
for a moment to give a big round of applause to Jessee for standing up for equality in
the workplace. Jessee spoke to Crystal Burbak, an Administrator at Interim
Healthcare, on at least two occasions regarding the pay disparity between
himself and Aaker. After Jesse made his complaints, Burback responded by saying
that the difference in pay between Jessee and Aakers was because of experience.
When Jessee pointed out that Aaker had years of nursing experience, compared to
his few months, Burback became very upset. Burback then told Jessee that he
shouldn’t be discussing his rate of pay with other employees. Just to be clear,
employers cannot mandate this secrecy requirement.
Fortunately, Jessee did not give up. After receiving no help from Burbak, Jessee went up the chain of command. Jessee took his concerns to Interim Healthcare’s Director of Healthcare Service, Lori Norby. Jessee told both Norby and Burback that he would be willing to take a pay cut to so that he and Aaker would be making the same hourly rate. Of course, taking money away from an employee reporting or participating in an investigation into gender discrimination would be unlawful retaliation. (See How Do I Make An Employment Discrimination Claim?; Can I Be Fired If My Father Reported Race Discrimination At My Job?; Fired In Retaliation For Reporting Sex Harassment?).
Seriously, we need
more people like Jessee in the workplace, people who take action when they see
something wrong! Apparently, Norby was willing to accept Jessee’s offer.
However, Burback again became angry and defensive when Jesse pointed out the
pay disparity. A few months later, probably because he was sick of seeing
injustice in the workplace, Jessee resigned from Interim Healthcare. (A quick
side note, Title VII and R.C. 4112 offer protections for employees who oppose
gender discrimination in the workplace. For more info, see our blogs I Was Fired For
Reporting Gender Discrimination! I Need The Best Lawyer!, Can I Be Fired
For Reporting Discrimination To H.R.?, and Fired In
Retaliation For Reporting Sex Harassment?.
Jessee wasn’t the
only one to complain about the pay difference. Aaker also complained to Burback
about the difference in the pay rate between male and female employees. Again, Burback
tried to use the excuse that Aaker was paid “per experience.” When Aaker
pointed out that she had a lot more experience than Jessee, Burback told her that
it didn’t matter if Aaker had more experience. Burback told Aaker that she was
hired at $28 per hour, and it would stay that way. After receiving such a negative
response to her complaints, Aakers got so fed up that she quit Interim
Healthcare on April 29, 2016.
situation brought up some issues under the Equal Pay Act. However, Aaker’s
claims do not end there. Apparently, while employed at Interim Healthcare,
Aaker, and other female nurses experienced other forms of sexual harassment and
discrimination. This harassment was so bad that many female nurses felt they
had no choice but to quit. In her Complaint, Aakers claims that Burback regularly
engaged in inappropriate behavior. Burback frequently bullied Aaker by calling her
“stupid” and telling Aaker that she was not doing her job. Burback’s
harassment was not just verbal. Apparently, Burback saw nothing wrong with
slapping Aaker on the buttocks, and, grabbing a female social worker’s breasts
in front of Aaker.
In the Interim Healthcare
lawsuit, Aaker has sued for a permanent injunction to stop Interim Healthcare from
paying male and female employees differently based on their gender. Further,
Aaker has asked for back pay damages for all of the female nurses for lost
wages, liquidated damages, damages to compensate for pain and suffering, and
If you think that
all of this is horrible, our employment lawyers agree and would fight really
hard on such a claim. The EEOC, however, was willing to take a $50,000 settlement and promises to stop in order to resolve this matter. This is
the problem with leaving the EEOC in charge. It gets to decide when the case
ends – not you. On the other hand, if you hire qualified employment attorneys,
you get to decide when to settle and for how much.
If you feel that you are being discriminated based on your gender or sex, then call the right attorney. It is never appropriate to discriminate against female employees. Discrimination against women includes being harassed, fired, wrongfully terminated, discriminated against, demoted, wrongfully disciplined, denied a promotion, and denied wages or not receiving equal pay. When you call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation, you will meet with an attorney from The Spitz Law Firm to discuss wrongful discrimination claims and help you determine the best way to pursue your gender/sex discrimination claims. Call our office at 866-797-6040.
The legal materials available at the
top of this page and on this employment law website are for informational
purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Your best
option is to contact an Ohio attorney to obtain advice with respect to
gender discrimination questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and
access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the
site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions
expressed at or through this site are the opinions of the individual lawyer and
may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.