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Is There a Wage Gap Among Transgender Employees?

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wage gap among transgender employees

Not all employees are given equal pay for equal work. That includes many transgender employees. If you are getting less pay because of your gender identity, you have legal rights. You may also be entitled to compensation.

Today’s workforce differs vastly from prior generations. In the past, the mindset was that work stays at work and home stays at home. This idea that your personal life ends when you walk through the office door permeated corporate life for decades. Today’s workers are different. Employees encourage each other to be themselves at work. If you are a transgender person, be who you are at work.

Many employers are following in this direction. Even with this progress, however, many transgender people face discrimination, sexual harassment, and isolation. As a result, many transgender employees make less money than their colleagues who do similar work. According to a poll by the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and a market research firm, trans men earn 70 cents for every dollar the average worker earns, on average. Trans women earn 60 cents for every dollar the average worker earns. This is based on responses from 6,800 LGBTQ+ workers.

Employees should feel comfortable to be themselves at work, and many transgender employees do not feel that way. This leads to reduced job satisfaction, career growth, retention rates, and lifetime earnings.

When employees feel pressure to not be their authentic self at work, it reduces their overall satisfaction and productivity. As a transgender employee, you may not feel allowed to be yourself. These barriers damage your ability to do your work, which reduces the likelihood of promotions and salary increases.

Limited Job Options

The food and retail industries are most likely to house transgender workers. They are about 2.4 times more likely to work in these industries. Transgender workers do not find support in many industries. They feel unsafe at work, leading them to simply leave the situation altogether.

All of this leads to limited job opportunities for transgender workers. This further hinders their ability to stay at a job for an extended period, get promoted, and earn a fair living.

Beyond that, transgender job candidates often feel like their options are limited. They face discrimination during the hiring process. Be aware that this is illegal, too.

All of this pushes many transgender workers to food and retail industries, where the longevity of work is often not the same as other industries. The ability to make a great deal of money in this industry is also limited. This limits transgender workers’ lifetime earning capacity as well.

What Can Companies Do?

Companies can be inclusive. Bringing together people from different backgrounds makes for better outcomes at work. Companies can take positive steps to ensure transgender employees feel safe and supported at work. One way to address the wage gap is to enact pay transparency policies.

It is against the law for employers to prevent employees from discussing wages. However, going a step further and enacting pay transparency ensures that every employee knows where they stand. These policies will make clear that a company respects every employee and what they contribute to the company, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

It is important for companies to also have clear anti-discrimination policies. These policies can help transgender employees feel safe and supported at work. It will also make clear what happens if an employee is discriminated against.

These are just a few steps a company can take to support transgender and all employees.

What Companies Cannot Do?

Companies cannot discriminate against employees on the basis of their gender identity. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects transgender employees from discrimination, creating a more equitable workplace for all.

However, this does not stop some companies from discriminating against employees. Many companies refuse to allow employees to discuss wages. They refuse to create pay transparency policies and even have structured pay bands.

Refusing to take these steps makes it more likely that transgender employees will face discrimination. It is important to remember that discrimination includes paying one employee less than another without a valid business reason. If one employee has much more experience than another or has worked for a company much longer and has been promoted, that could be a valid business reason to pay one employee more than another.

Because some companies prevent employees from discussing wages, colleagues often have no idea what everyone else makes. This furthers the transgender wage gap and makes progress more difficult.

What Should I Do if I Discover a Pay Gap?

If you find out that you are making less money than a co-worker who is doing the same or similar work, you may be able to sue your employer if their reasoning is illegal. You should first discuss this with your employer if you feel safe to do so. Remember, if you do bring this up with your employer, they cannot fire you, demote you, reduce your pay, reduce your work hours, or take any other adverse action against you for bringing this issue to their attention.

If that gets you nowhere or if you do not feel safe and supported to discuss the wage gap, speak with a lawyer. A lawyer may be able to help you file a claim against your employer for discrimination. Your lawyer will thoroughly investigate your case, requesting personnel documents from your employer to see the details of the wage gap.

If successful, your lawyer may be able to get you compensated for the following:

  • The difference in pay going back to your start date.
  • Back overtime pay at the increased rate.
  • Additional compensation to make up for the wage gap.

If you have been wrongfully terminated, you may also be able to have your job reinstated. Do not let a company discriminate against you. Make sure you protect your rights with help from a lawyer.

Cherry Hill Employment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Will Make Sure Your Rights Are Protected

Wage and transgender discrimination at work is a serious problem. If you suspect that your employer has taken adverse employment action against you because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, you have legal rights worth protecting. Contact one of our Cherry Hill employment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. today to learn more. Call us at 215-569-1999 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia and Pennsauken, New Jersey, we proudly serve clients throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey, including Cherry Hill, Haddonfield, Marlton, Moorestown, and Mount Laurel.

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