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Feel free to adjust pay to suit local standards

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Don’t let pay concerns get in the way of a transfer. Feel free to adjust compensation to account for different market rates in different locations. It’s perfectly fine to adjust salaries to suit local standards.

Don’t worry that such regional pay adjustments will become the basis for a lawsuit by existing employees earning less despite having the same skills, experience and seniority.

Recent case: Delano, who is black, worked as a customer service manager for AT&T in Florida. His salary was about $53,000. He requested a transfer to Harrisburg and was offered a job following a telephone interview with the Harrisburg manager. However, his starting salary would be about $7,000 less than he made in Florida.

Despite the cut, Delano accepted the transfer and moved. Then he had a run-in with his new supervisor involving an incident in which Delano didn’t follow directions to the boss’s satisfaction.

He sued, accusing AT&T of cutting his salary because of his race. He alleged the new supervisor in Harrisburg didn’t want black people working for him.

Delano didn’t get very far with his allegations. First, the supervisor explained to the court that he didn’t know Delano’s race until he arrived in Harrisburg. Second, the supervisor showed that other customer service managers under his supervision with similar experience and seniority made about $10,000 less than Delano made in Florida. That’s why he offered Delano the lower salary.

Finally, Delano had no evidence to support his allegations that the supervisor knew of his race or harbored racist beliefs. The case was dismissed. (Howard v. AT&T, No. 1:11-CV-1021, MD PA, 2012)

Final note: Courts don’t like to second-guess employers. A logical explanation for your actions will counter frivolous discrimination allegations.

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