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Am I seeing discrimination?

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  • Am I seeing discrimination?

    As the HR and Payroll Coordinator I see all the raises, and payroll for our company. We have a female director who has been with the company for 10 years and her salary is 48K per year. She has had good/excellent reviews for all that time. We also have a male director who has been with the company for 5 years and his salary is 60k per year. His reviews have been poor and it was explained that he would get the 60k as an equity increase because his job description expanded - though he isn't doing 1/2 of the new duties he has been given.

    The head of staff who insisted on the 60k for him made comments to me and others that he thinks this employee is irreplaceable so even if he isn't fulfilling his job description, he wants him to stay at 60k so he doesn't leave. Of course, the female director has no idea this is going on. What am I seeing here? When HR people see this aren't they obligated to contact EEOC??


  • #2
    HR people are supposed to protect the company's best interests by knowing state and federal law then advising managers how to follow the law. I would not expect an HR person to be in the field for long if word got around they called the EEOC. What law do you think was broken by these salaries?

    It is not illegal that the man negotiated a higher salary than a woman. It is also common for a new employee to be brought in at a higher salary than a current employee. Seems like the male employee makes a better impression on the head of staff than the female employee.

    In case you are thinking of doing something, as HR, you should remember that you have a duty of confidentiality with pay rates and under no circumstances should you disclose the man's salary to the woman.


    • #3
      So when can the difference between men and women’s pay not be simply boiled down to negotiation tactics and fall into the area of discrimination?


      • #4
        When it becomes a pattern. If Peter is paid more than Mary, but all the rest of the employees, male and female, are roughly equivalent allowing for length of tenure, experience, etc., then it's probably just that Peter is a better negotiator than Mary. But if Joel, Ron and Gary all get paid more than Sylvia, Connie and Jacqueline, despite any other factors, you may be looking at discrimination.

        There are a lot of things that need to be looked at and there's no single factor that can be isolated and used as a determinator. But when you've looked at all the variables such as experience, education, performance, market compression, tenure, and probably half a dozen others that I'm not thinking of at the moment, if the men as a group are being paid more than the women as a group, you've got discrimination.
        The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.


        • #5
          Thanks for that clarification cbg. What if 95% of the women in the company fall into the lower paying positions, clerical, coordinator, administrative roles, and 95% of the men fall into high paying positions in leadership, director, department head positions?


          • #6
            Are the same number of men applying for the low level positions? Are the same number of women applying for the higher paid ones? You can only go by what the applicant pool provides. If no men are applying for the lower positions and no women are applying for the higher ones, then that's what the roster is going to show and it's not going to be illegal discrimination. But if half the applicant pool for the upper level positions consists of qualified women, but only men are being hired, then you have a problem.
            The above answer, whatever it is, assumes that no legally binding and enforceable contract or CBA says otherwise. If it does, then the terms of the contract or CBA apply.