Wage laws in California are some of the most fiercely protected when it comes to employment law. When there are claims of discrimination, wage theft or worker misclassification, it is not unusual for a lawsuit to be filed against the employer.
For non-employers, it may seem simple to comply with wage laws. Just pay everyone fairly, right? In reality, however, several complications can arise when it comes to getting and staying in compliance with the various wage laws.
Wage disparities are among the most common disputes that arise between employees and employers. Yes, there are situations involving an employer who is improperly paying workers on purpose, but as this article notes, there are many cases when a wage disparity is legitimate.
- A new hire might make less than a long-time employee because he or she is coming on board with more experience.
- Two workers might be performing similar but not the same work
- One worker might have training or certification that another person in the same role does not have
- Market demand for a role changed over time
- Job duties for just one person have expanded
Under these circumstances, any disparity in wages could very well be unintentional and justifiable. However, an employer can still wind up in legal hot water if the situation is not addressed and an employee files a lawsuit.
It is also important to mention that if wage disparities are not discriminatory or retaliatory, they could be perfectly legal. An employer can increase one person’s salary if the employer likes that employee better, is related to the employee or simply just decides to on a whim. It might not be fair, but it could still be legal.
Wage disputes can get very contentious, particularly when coupled with claims of discrimination. Employers would be wise to consult an attorney as soon as a potential issue with wages and compensation arises. Doing so could help stop a fight before it even starts and minimize the fallout of a legal battle.