Did you know that the law protects employees from being discriminated against due to gender? Women’s struggle for workplace equality has been a long battle in this county and others around the world, but there are laws that protect a female worker from being treated unfairly or denied the same employment benefits as their male co-workers. According to a recent analysis of data conducted by the American Association of University Women, West Virginia ranks 49th in the nation in pay equity for men and women.
The analysis, “The Simple Truth About the Gender Pay Gap,” found that the average West Virginia woman working full-time, year-round, makes only 72 cents for every dollar made by a man. You can find an article discussing the study here.
The study found that the average median male income in West Virginia is about $46,000 a year. The median female income in the Mountain State is about $35,000, meaning women in West Virginia make about 72 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts. However, West Virginia has “Equal Pay for Equal Work” laws that prohibit employers from discriminating in any manner between the sexes in the payment of wages for work of comparable character, the performance of which requires comparable skills and from paying wages to any employee at a rate less than the rate paid to employees of the opposite sex for comparable work requiring comparable skills. There are other protections under these laws which include prohibiting retaliation against a worker for reporting a wage discrepancy or filing a complaint.
Along with pay inequality, other unfair working conditions such as sexual harassment from a co-worker or a boss can lead to an intolerable situation for females in the workplace. Unfortunately, harassment may go unreported due to the fear of losing a job. Recent high- profile cases have highlighted the degree to which women face these issues despite the fact that there are legal protections available to workers who experience harassment. In 2017, reports of sexual misconduct dominated the headlines, with reports of inappropriate and unwelcome conduct by Hollywood producers, media personnel, colleges, and universities. No employee should work in an environment where they are subject to sexual harassment or misconduct.
More information can be found in this Department of Labor article.
If you feel your rights as an employee have been violated, contact Tammy Bowles Raines for a free consultation.