Is it legal to pay an older employee less money if they are doing the same job as their co-workers?

I was 1 of 10 contract labor workers working for an oil company and we worked as contract welders making the

same money for 9 years and the oil company decided they wanted us to become employees with all the benefits

but with much less pay. So we all hired in with the oil company and they started some welders with a top pay of around $28 an hour and some of us were paid a little less an hour. However, I was hired in thinking that the other employees who were doing the exact same work day after day were making the same pay. Being we were doing the exact same work every day and I just found out that I was making abou $6 an hour less than the rest of the guys. They are about 10 years younger than I am and I’m 65. Is that legal for them to pay me that wage if I’m doing the same work they are? I feel that they are paying me much less because of my age.

Asked on May 31, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It is legal IF there is a some viable or valid non-age-related reason: for example, if the younger employees are more productive, or have experience or training you lack. The law prevents an older employee from being discriminated against *because* he is older, but he can be paid less or otherwise treated different due to non-age reasons: being older does not bar differential treatment.
If you don't think there is a valid non-age reason, then you should speak to the EEOC about filing an age-discrimination complaint.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.