Is it legal to pay a huge wage gap for employees doing the same work?

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Is it legal to pay a huge wage gap for employees doing the same work?

Asked on April 22, 2012 under Employment Labor Law, California

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 9 years ago | Contributor

There is no law requiring employees doing the same job to be paid the same amount. Often, there is some valid reason for the discrepancy, such as one employee performing better, having more years in service and/or experience, having more education or training, etc. However, even if there is no explanation or justification, it's still legal, so long as the discrepancy is not based on illegal discrimination. Federal law makes it illegal to discriminate in employment based on race, religion, age over 40, sex, or disability; California protecst a number of other categories, too, like color, national origin, ancestry, medical condition, marital status,or sexual orientation. If the wage discrepancy is due to discrimination against a protected characteristic, that is illegal; otherwise, the company can choose how much to pay each employee.


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