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Backup evidence can support a pay discrimination claim

Women workers in Missouri continue to deal with pay discrimination on the job, from entry-level positions to high-ranking executive posts. Some cases present clear examples of discriminatory pay, while other instances of discrimination may be more challenging to prove. For example, an employer may pay two workers who have substantially identical duties at different rates of pay, and these rates of pay vary consistently by sex. This may present the classic example of a federal Title VII claim for pay discrimination based on sex. However, it is not the only instance in which such a claim is valid.

In one case before a federal appeals court, a former corporate executive sued her past employer, saying that she received lower pay than other executives at the same level who were male. The court initially dismissed her claim because it said she failed to show that her duties were essentially the same as her male colleagues. At the appeals level, however, the federal court affirmed that additional circumstances may be considered in a sex discrimination case involving pay. Specifically, it noted that the plaintiff showed that male executives were routinely paid at a level above market rate while her own pay was below market rate.

The court noted that the plaintiff introduced other evidence that supported a claim of discrimination. For example, the executive who played a major role in setting pay rates for people at her level had a documented history of making sexist jokes or negative comments about women on the job. Documented instances of harassment, discriminatory behavior or inappropriate comments may strengthen a claim.

Workers who are paid less due to workplace discrimination or other wage and hour violations may lose out on thousands of dollars as a result. An employment law attorney may work with affected workers to pursue compensation.

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