Can my company pay me 15-40% less than colleagues doing the same job in different states with less education and years of experience than I have?

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Can my company pay me 15-40% less than colleagues doing the same job in different states with less education and years of experience than I have?

My company is a private, for profit agency contracting with the federal government. I learned of the pay discrepancies when they mistakenly sent me the company pay scale. I also saw my job advertised for another state at a 8% higher starting pay than mine. When I inquired they said the job posting was a mistake. They also said education/work experience does not factor into hiring decisions even though they are required for the job and listed in the job description. Is this legal? I have strong performance evaluations and have worked for them for several years. I live in a different state.

Asked on August 16, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Utah

Answers:

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

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

Companies may set different salaries for employees at the same level, performing the same function. This holds true whether or not they are in the same state. The fact is that in an "at will" employment relationshp, an employer may set the terms and conditions of the workplace much as it sees fit. For their part, an employee can choose to work for the employer or not.

Exceptions to the above would be if a pay differential is prohibited by terms of an employment contract, union agreement or company policy. Also, such a discrepency must not be due to some for of actionable discrimination.

Bottom line, employees do not have to be treated equally, or even fairly for that matter. 


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