Is it legal to give the men in a company a raise with different stipulations then the women?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Is it legal to give the men in a company a raise with different stipulations then the women?

Another woman and I were hired 6 months ago for a sales position. We signed paperwork with the company that we would receive a $10,000 raise after 3 months of employment if we produced a certain amount in sales volume. We exceeded the amount requested and she and I have been the top sales associates every month since we started working for the company. However, the owner said that we don’t deserve the raise. He said we don’t work hard enough. He said that now in order to get the raise we must take a class, pass a test and be reinterviewed. However, the $10,000 raise was automatically given to the men in the company that produced far less then we have every month. We have also been constantly sexually harassed by management. It got so bad that I had to go to the doctor and get put on medication for anxiety. I went to a manager and told them what was going on. They talked to him. I feel this is another reason why I didn’t get my raise.

Asked on November 19, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, New Jersey


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Men and women can be treated differently--e.g. men getting a raise when women don't--only if there is some valid, non-gender-based reasons, like higher sales, or having relevant  credentials (e.g. degrees or certifications) the women lacked, or more years experience, and it can be shown that the alleged non-gender reason is a valid reason for the differential treatment and not merely a pretext.
Based on what you write, that does not appear to be the case, since you appear to have met the criteria for the raise. That, coupled with the sexual harassment, suggests strongly that the treatment is based on your sex and that you have a valid sexual discrimination claim under both federal and state law (NJ has some strong state laws on the subject). Contact the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights (DCR) about filing a complaint, and good luck.

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.

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