Written by Ravi Sattiraju on December 27, 2016
It can be difficult to determine if you are being paid a fair wage. Whether your wage is legal depends on whether it is at, above, or below the state minimum wage. If it is below the required minimum wage, you have the right to seek a higher wage. But when a wage is legal, is it necessarily fair? This is a more difficult question to answer. If you feel you are not receiving a fair wage, discuss your concerns with an experienced wage and hour attorney to determine whether you are being paid unfairly and if so, how to correct the problem.
What is a Fair Wage?
The notion of a fair wage can be subjective. In cases where employees with the same skills sets and positions are paid different amounts by their company, discrimination could be to blame. Under the Equal Pay Act, it is illegal for an employer to discriminate against an employee on the basis of his or her sex. This act, along with Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is in place to ensure that all employees receive fair wages for the work they perform. In this case, “fair” simply means paid the same amount as other employees in the same position.
What to Do if you are Not Being Paid a Fair Wage
Your employer is required to pay you at least the state’s minimum wage, which is currently $8.38 per hour in New Jersey and $8.75 per hour in New York. If you have been paid less than the minimum wage, either outright or through deceptive means such as your employer’s failure to make up the difference between the amount you earn in tips and the state’s minimum wage, you have the right to file a claim with the United States Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division alleging a violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act.
If your issue is not that you have been paid less than the minimum wage, but that you are compensated less than similarly-skilled colleagues due to your race, religion, sex, ethnicity, national origin, or other protected class under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, discuss this with your supervisor. If he or she can not correct the discrepancy, bring it to your company’s Human Resources department. Keep a record of every interaction between yourself and the company regarding your pay discrepancy. If you can not resolve the issue internally, you could have grounds to file a claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If you need to take this route to address your pay discrepancy, work with an experienced employment attorney who can guide you through each step of the claim process and represent your case to the EEOC and, if necessary, in court.
Wage Dispute Attorneys in New Jersey
Determining whether you are being paid a fair wage can be difficult. Get better insight to the world of wages, raises, and other employment issues by contacting The Sattiraju Law Firm, P.C. to schedule your free legal consultation with a New Jersey wage dispute attorney. We are one of New York and New Jersey’s premier employment law firms and can draw upon our extensive experience of successful cases to help you build and pursue your employment claim.