With the economy still dragging, employers aren’t as generous with salary increases or starting offers as they once were. That means people doing the same jobs may end up earning very different salaries.
Smart employers document all the reasons for every rate of pay, in case someone later alleges some form of discrimination. That way, they’re prepared to justify exactly why one worker earns more or less than another similarly situated colleague.
Recent case: Gary Kirkland, who is black, worked for Cablevision. When he received a promotion, he got a raise. But as he continued working at Cablevision, he learned that others doing the same job made more money.
After he was fired for, he sued for race discrimination, claiming that only bias could explain the salary disparity. The other employees doing the same job were not black.
When the case reached the courtroom, Cablevision explained each worker’s salary history and exactly how the pay scales ended up where they were. Several other employees had simply worked for the company longer, earning annual increases. Others got a one-time salary bump after an annual bonus program was discontinued, which happened before Kirkland was promoted. And Kirkland got a salary boost based on his previous pay, consistent with a company salary schedule.
The case was dismissed based on the company’s clear explanation of how each employee ended up with his or her specific salary. (Kirkland v. Cablevision, No. 09-Civ-10235, SD NY, 2011)
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