Your WORK. Your WORTH.
Your WORK. Your WORTH.

How Does Missouri Ensure Equal Pay for Equal Work Across Genders and Races?

Employment Law

Inequalities Are Never Acceptable

Though it’s been decades since the Equal Pay Act in 1963, which states “to prohibit discrimination on account of sex in the payment of wages by employers engaged in commerce or the production of goods for commerce,” there still seems to be indications that men and women or different races are not paid equally. 

According to the United States Census Bureau, just over a $10,000 wage gap is shown in Missouri, with men making more in recent years. What this may mean for employees in Missouri is that there is still a concern regarding equal pay. 

What does the state of Missouri do, if anything, to combat this? 

Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA)

The Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) “prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, and places of public accommodations based on race, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex, disability, age, and familial status.” Also included in this act are protections stipulated against those who file complaints regarding inequalities. Laws apply to employers with six or more employees. There are specific areas that the MHRA includes to protect against discrimination or otherwise unequal treatment for those of different genders and races in Missouri. 

Still, with many laws in place at both the state and federal levels, inequalities still exist in general. If you or a loved one are experiencing inequality in pay due to gender or race, it’s imperative that you seek legal guidance immediately and report the issue.

As the wage gap still exists, generally speaking, it may be even more concerning for those who are both women and of a minority race.

Paycheck Fairness Act

In January of 2023, the Paycheck Fairness Act was introduced in Congress. The bill addressed wage discrimination on the basis of gender. The bill increases civil penalties for violations of rights and prohibits employers from requiring their employees to sign a contract regarding not disclosing salary information.

The bill also requires the Department of Labor to establish grants to help provide training in salary negotiation skills and equitable working conditions. Also included is the need to make more information available on wage discrimination and how to address it, as well as conduct surveys that may shine a light on existing disparities.

You Have Protection from Retaliation

What some may fear the most when wanting to address pay inequalities is retaliation or harassment due to their complaint. Employers are legally barred from retaliation against an employee who may file a complaint.

But what does retaliation look like? It can take on many forms, but here are some to watch for in your workplace;

Denial of promotions, bonuses, or other rewards for similar productivity following filing a complaint

Reduced pay or loss of employment

Changes to work schedule without reason

Transferring the complainant to another job focus, another area of the building, or to a less desirable position

Unreasonable low or negative performance evaluations

A cut in hours

If you are experiencing any of these issues or see them occurring in your workplace, speak with your experienced attorney immediately. We all have legal protection against retaliation and inequalities in the workplace, both at the state and federal levels.

The bottom line is that you have significant protection in place should you choose to address pay inequality, so you shouldn’t let those concerns scare you away from making the necessary changes in your workplace.

How Can I Prepare to Make a Complaint or Address Pay Inequalities?

One of the first things to keep in mind is to document everything. If you are experiencing inequalities, document your thoughts and back them up with whatever factual information you can access. If you have disparaging information regarding your pay vs. others, gather this information.

If you feel that you have been denied promotions or bonuses or otherwise been discriminated against due to your gender or race, document these concerns as well. Include who you spoke with, when, and what concerns you have. Emails are a great way to document this information. They can provide clear evidence, including relevant parties, content, and time/date stamps, to your attorney so you can effectively pursue the wrongdoings in the future.

Similarly, if you have addressed the inequalities and are now experiencing retaliation of some sort, document this as well. Record phone calls if possible, keep voicemails, texts, or emails in a safe place, document interactions you have with management or supervisors, and more.

Be Your Advocate and Then Allow Us To Be Yours

As unfortunate as it is to realize, inequalities still exist at staggering rates across our nation. With multiple laws at many levels to protect us, we should never remain silent regarding unequal pay or other concerns.

If you are concerned with unequal pay or are otherwise experiencing discrimination or retaliation, begin to document as much of what you can as it occurs so you have a fresh and accurate account of the issues at hand.

Contact our office at (314) 528-9661 to request a consultation and learn more. With decades of experience successfully advocating for our clients in Missouri, we are confident and compassionate about continuing to do so. Awards aside, our passion lies in helping our clients stand up for themselves and obtain equal pay and treatment within their workplaces and their lives at all costs.

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