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What can I do if I'm paid less than male employees?

The struggle for equal pay for women in the workplace has raged on for several decades in the nation. While some headway has been made in ensuring equal rights for male and female workers, many men still earn more than their female counterparts.

The government has addressed the topic of equal pay several times. In 1963, President Kennedy signed into law the Equal Pay Act, which makes it illegal to pay women less than men for the same work. In 1976, the Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act lent even more support for equal pay and rights among female and male workers.

In Michigan, lawmakers enacted the Workforce Opportunity Wage Act in 2014. This act addresses wage issues across the board in the state and further defines prohibited acts of discrimination based solely on gender.

As far as the question of what female employees can do about unfair wages, the answer is complicated. However, in addressing one part of the question, it is safe to say that women who believe their equal pay rights have been violated should definitely take some kind of action. There are many individual factors the law uses to determine if workplace discrimination has indeed occurred. For this reason alone, it might be unwise to move forward without legal representation.

Having a legal professional on your side ensures a better understanding of Michigan wage and hour laws. As such, you will be in a better position to decide which course of action will best meet your needs. While the law is clear on the subject of workplace discrimination between women and men, it cannot monitor every employer in the state of Michigan. To properly enforce the laws, the government needs the help of workers just like you.

Source: Michigan Legislature, "ELLIOTT-LARSEN CIVIL RIGHTS ACT (EXCERPT) Act 453 of 1976," accessed Nov. 12, 2015

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