You have the right to be fairly compensated for your work. You have the right to file a complaint or a Charge of Discrimination, participate in an employment discrimination investigation or lawsuit, or oppose discrimination without being retaliated against by your employer.

What this means for you

Under one Federal law, women and men have the right to receive equal pay if they perform equal work in the same workplace. Under this law, it does not matter how many employees an employer has, and most employees across both the public and private-sectors are covered. The jobs or work being compared don’t have to be identical, but they must be “substantially equal.” Job content (not job titles) is what determines this. All forms of compensation are covered, meaning not only pay, but also benefits.

Other Federal laws prohibit most employers with at least 15 employees (or at least 20 employees, with respect to age) from compensation discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, or genetic information. But, under these laws, there is no requirement that the jobs be “substantially equal.” Rather, discrimination may be proven when there is evidence of, for example:

  • discriminatory application of a wage policy or system, or wage-setting techniques that are discriminatory;
  • barriers to equal access to higher paying jobs;
  • wages being intentionally lowered because of the protected characteristic(s) of the employees in the job; or
  • a seemingly fair compensation policy or practice that has a significantly negative impact on employees in a protected class without a strong enough business justification.

Furthermore, under an Executive Order, certain Federal contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating in employment decisions, including pay, on the basis of sex (as well as race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran).

Depending on the size of the organization you work for and whether it is a Federal contractor or subcontractor, you may be able to submit a claim under more than one law if you feel you have experienced pay discrimination based on sex.

Questions? We’re here to help.

We are committed to helping you understand your rights as a worker. Many questions about your rights may be answered by using the following elaws (Employment Laws Assistance for Workers and Small Businesses) Advisors:

The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) work together to coordinate investigations of complaints.

For additional assistance, please contact:

Learn about filing a complaint

We’ll help you decide what to do next and determine whether filing a complaint is the best course of action. You must file a complaint within a certain timeframe to take further legal action, so it is best to begin the process early.

Please note that it is illegal for your employer to fire, demote, harass, or otherwise retaliate against you for reporting an issue to the OFCCP or EEOC.

File with OFCCP File with EEOC