If I am a female co-sous chef and my male counterpart is making more money than me and doing less work, do I have a claim for discrimination?

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If I am a female co-sous chef and my male counterpart is making more money than me and doing less work, do I have a claim for discrimination?

The male sous chef has been in the position longer, but I do significantly more work than him. I have voiced my complaint to the male executive chef but he just says “that’s the way it is”.

Asked on January 4, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, Arizona

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

It is *possible* that you may have a claim for discrimination, if the two of you do the same job/have the same title and you also can demonstrate you do more work for him. However, it is not in your favor that he has held that position longer: time in service is a valid and recognized ground for paying employee A more than employee B, even if their positions/titles are the same and B is, in most ways, the better worker.

Much will depend on the specific facts: it is one thing is he held the position for 5 more years and is making 20 - 25% more: a differential of 4 - 5% per year of service is not unreasonable. On the other hand, if he was there 1 year longer  and is making 30% more, that suggests sex-based discrimination may be at work. Since many attorneys will provide a free initial consultation to evaluate a case, it would be worthwhile for you to consult with an employment law attorney about the specifics of your situation.


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