Florida has certain wage laws that employers must adhere to and employees should be aware of. There are times when discriminatory behavior and wage law violations intersect. In recent years, people have been discriminated against for a variety of reasons including race, national origin, age, sexual orientation and more.
Sex (often referred to as gender) discrimination is a longstanding problem that unfortunately still occurs. Regarding wages, employers cannot discriminate and pay a person less due to their sex. Understanding the law, how it protects employees and having help can be useful when weighing options.
What does the law say about sex-based discrimination?
Florida employers can pay different wages to employees based on different skills, abilities, responsibilities, tenure on the job, merit, production and other good-faith reasons. If the job is commission-based, sex is irrelevant. However, if the disparity is based on nothing more than a person’s sex, it is considered discriminatory.
For example, if two people work as cashiers in a market – one male, one female – and the female is paid less than the male for no clear reason, it is a violation of the law.
If this is proven, there can be a civil claim to recover unpaid wages. The employer may be liable to pay the difference in wages to the employee who did not receive what they were supposed to.
It cannot go beyond the amount they should have received had the wages been equal for 1 year before the claim. The claim must be made within 6 months of ending employment at the job. There can also be an award of reasonable costs and legal fees.
Employees who were discriminated against and lost income have rights
Many cases come about when people were previously unaware of the situation. They either did not know they were being paid less than others of a different sex or simply did not know the law. No matter the circumstances, there are ways to be compensated for the discrimination and wage violations.
For guidance, discussing the case with those who are experienced in employment law cases and understand the perspective of the employee and employer can be effective. This is true for any type of job and business size. Having help is imperative from the start.