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Employment Law Firm in California

Can An Employer Offer Different Pay And Benefits For Men And Women?


Gender discrimination essentially encompasses all acts of discrimination that are based on a person’s gender. This definition seems fairly straightforward, but gender discrimination is often misunderstood and is not always easy to identify. As a result of its ambiguity, especially in the workplace, many people who are the victims of gender discrimination don’t even recognize when it has happened to them.

Naturally, some instances of gender discrimination will be more difficult to identify than others, but the most historically common example of gender discrimination is perhaps when a man and a woman do the exact same job for noticeably different wages. It’s important to understand that an employer cannot use an employee’s gender, or gender related stereotypes, to justify treating an employee differently, fire an employee, or refuse to hire an employee.

Can I Be Paid Less As A Woman? Or Can I Be Paid Less As A Man?

Can An Employer Offer Different Benefits To Male And Female Employees?

Maybe The Problem Is All In My Head?

Can I Be Paid Less As A Woman? Or Can I Be Paid Less As A Man?

Absolutely not. According to Title VII and the Equal Pay Act (EPA), when it involves pay or benefits, it is illegal to discriminate on the basis of a person’s sex. These laws cover all forms of compensation including:

  • Overtime Pay
  • Salary
  • Bonuses
  • Stock Options
  • Profit Sharing
  • Life Insurance
  • Vacation and Holiday Pay
  • Benefits

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) requires that all men and women must be given the same pay for the same job while working in the same establishment. This does not mean that their jobs need to be exactly the same, but they do need to be significantly similar. A significantly similar job is based on the actual job duties and not the job title.

On the other hand, Title VII does not mandate that the job of an employee who is making a discrimination claim must be significantly similar to that of better paid employee of the opposite sex. Title VII does not even require that the aggrieved employee must work for the same company as the better paid employee. Finally, Title VII requires proof of intent to discriminate on the basis of an employee’s sex. The EPA, however, does not require proof of discriminatory intent.

According to the EPA, an employer is not allowed to pay unequal wages to men and women who are performing jobs requiring similar skills, effort or responsibility, as long as the jobs are being performed under similar conditions and within the same company.

How are these terms defined?

  1. Effort: This refers to the actual physical or mental exertion that is required to successfully perform a job.
  2. Skill: This is a combination of the experience, education, and training that is required to successfully perform a job. Note, that these skills must be necessary to perform a specific job, and not just general work experience.
  3. Responsibility: What is the degree of accountability required to successfully perform a job?
  4. Working conditions: This encompasses physical surroundings, as well as any work related hazards.

Can An Employer Offer Different Benefits To Male And Female Employees?

Absolutely not. It is discriminatory, and illegal, for an employer to offer men and women different benefits. Employers cannot condition any available benefits for employees and their families depending on whether that employee is the head of a household or the main source of income. That status has no actual relationship to an employee’s job performance, and can also have the effect of being discriminatory against female employees.

Furthermore, an employer is not permitted to make benefits available for:

  • The families and spouses of male employees, if these same benefits are not offered to the families and the husbands of female employees.
  • The spouses of female employees that are not offered to male employees.
  • The spouses of male employees that are not offered to female employees.

Finally, it is illegal for an employer to have a pension or retirement plan that has different optional or compulsory retirement ages that are based on an employee’s sex, or which use sex as a basis for offering different benefits.

Maybe The Problem Is All In My Head?

Some people convince themselves that their situation is really not that bad. Or that they didn’t really deserve that new position, more pay, or whatever other benefit was at stake. This is simply not the case. Don’t allow yourself to be victimized by gender discrimination. There is nothing wrong with standing up for yourself and demanding equality.

What Can West Coast Employment Lawyers Do For You?

If you have made up your mind to take action, it is important to work with an attorney that specializes in cases like yours. The gender discrimination lawyers at West Coast Employment Lawyers have extensive experience handling gender discrimination cases. We will work tirelessly to gather the facts, find and interview eyewitnesses, hire experts, and fight for your rights.

We work on a contingency basis, which means we only get attorney’s fees if we are able to recover for you. Our legal team is available 24/7 and will take care of your case from start to finish. For a free no-obligation consultation with a gender discrimination attorney in California, contact our office at 1-800-247-9235.


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