Is it legal to pay an older employee less money if they are doing the same job as their co-workers?

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Is it legal to pay an older employee less money if they are doing the same job as their co-workers?

I was 1 of 10 contract labor workers working for an oil company and we worked as contract welders making the

same money for 9 years and the oil company decided they wanted us to become employees with all the benefits

but with much less pay. So we all hired in with the oil company and they started some welders with a top pay of around $28 an hour and some of us were paid a little less an hour. However, I was hired in thinking that the other employees who were doing the exact same work day after day were making the same pay. Being we were doing the exact same work every day and I just found out that I was making abou $6 an hour less than the rest of the guys. They are about 10 years younger than I am and I’m 65. Is that legal for them to pay me that wage if I’m doing the same work they are? I feel that they are paying me much less because of my age.

Asked on May 31, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, Texas

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

It is legal IF there is a some viable or valid non-age-related reason: for example, if the younger employees are more productive, or have experience or training you lack. The law prevents an older employee from being discriminated against *because* he is older, but he can be paid less or otherwise treated different due to non-age reasons: being older does not bar differential treatment.
If you don't think there is a valid non-age reason, then you should speak to the EEOC about filing an age-discrimination complaint.


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