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Is reduced pay for women considered workplace discrimination?

At one point in American history, it was possible for one member of a family to earn enough money at work to provide for all of his or her family's needs. Usually, that lone breadwinner of the past was also a man. Today, two streams of income are usually required to support an average American family. With the addition of women into the workforce, one of the unfortunate consequences is that the pay for many of those with have not kept pace with their male counterparts.

According to a Pew Research Center, both men and women tend to agree that equality in the workplace is still a problem. That study found that 61 percent of men and 72 percent of women interviewed agreed that progress still needs to be made in providing workplace equality between genders.

Other research conducted by Pew took a look at the hourly earnings of full-time and part-time employees and found that women earned 84 percent of what male workers earned. To put that into perspective, it would take a woman beginning at the first of the year roughly 40 additional days to earn what a man had earned in the previous year.

It's important to note that income disparity alone may not provide convincing proof of workplace discrimination. For example, comparing two different types of work, even at the same company, may not be the same as comparing apples to apples. However, it's also important to remember that women are almost twice as likely as men to report that their gender has caused them some form of workplace discrimination.

If you are a New Jersey employee who suspects that your employer has discriminated against you because of your gender then you may have sufficient grounds for a workplace discrimination lawsuit. Gender discrimination is described as whenever an employer treats a qualified employee less favorably than another simply because of their gender. It can also happen in situations where an employer's policies may have a discriminatory effect on individuals of certain groups. A consultation with your New Jersey employment law attorney can help you determine whether you should pursue litigation.

Source: Pew Research Center, "On Equal Pay Day, key facts about the gender pay gap," Eileen Patten, accessed April. 01, 2015

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