Can I ask for equal or more pay and can I ask my employer what my co-worker’s income is?

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Can I ask for equal or more pay and can I ask my employer what my co-worker’s income is?

I’ve been working in an office for 11 years as an admin assistant. My co-worker has been in the office for 6 years as a legal secretary. About 2 years ago, they laid off the office manager and divided up her job between the secretary and I. I now do all filing, misc office jobs/projects, fill in for the other secretary, and many times I receive work that the secretary claims that she is too busy to do. While I am doing this, much of the time I over hear her planning her personal political meetings she’s into politics, planning vacations, on Facebook all day, laughing about something she’s reading online, reads e-books, plays computer games at her desk while I’m pick up the slack. She throws tantrums when some of the attorneys ask her to do work and makes herself appear to be overwhelmed, and on more than a few occasions people ask me to do something for them because they don’t want to deal with her mood. Since the office manager was laid off, she has taken over printing checks for bills that we owe once a month and payroll 2 days a month, and I do all the billing for the clients, as well as all IT questions and misc other tasks that the office manager used to handle. I know that the office manager was getting paid a lot more than I as well. I am busy for 100% of my day. Is it reasonable for me to ask that I be paid more than I do, even if I don’t have a degree? I know how much this particular secretary makes because she gave me her own paystub by accident one time, and I was shocked at the amount when I glanced at it thinking it was mine. It’s around $12,000 more a year than I make.

Asked on June 14, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

Unless you have an employment contract or union agreement that sets your wage, it is perfectly permissable for you to aske for a raise. That having been said, you may not get it but you can certainly ask. If you think that your co-worker's relationship with your boss is as strong as you say, then just don't bring her up. Keep the conversation about and the value that you add to the workplace.


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