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When can a Michigan worker file a wage discrimination complaint?

Detroit, Michigan, employees want to be treated equally in the workplace. However, unfair work situations do exist. Sometimes, this workplace discrimination may not be outwardly noticeable, but the person suffers unequal treatment nonetheless. Discrimination takes many forms, but it can affect wages, promotion and, in some cases, employment. Various Michigan and federal laws make discrimination illegal. One such law is the Equal Pay Act.

According to the Equal Pay Act, every employee is entitled to equal pay. To claim an equal wage, it is not required that the work done is identical. A different job title does not mean that the person doing that job is exempted from equal pay. The job's responsibilities and requirements dictate if the job is substantially equal to another. In addition to salary, bonuses, profit sharing, stock options, overtime pay, holiday pay, gasoline or cleaning allowances, travel expenses and related reimbursement must be equal. Inequality in wages among job positions does not permit the employer to reduce wages to equalize pay, under the law.

It is not required that an employee who suffers wage discrimination file a discrimination charge with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) before going to court. There is a time limit of no later than two years from the date of unlawful compensation practice as alleged by the employee for filing charges. The time limit is increased to three years if a willful violation exists. It should also be remembered that the time frame for going to the court cannot be extended by filing an EEOC charge, under the Act.

Other provisions of appropriate laws also deal with wage and benefit discrimination based on gender, so there are many legal options for an employee who has experience discrimination. The Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Americans with Disabilities Act prohibit compensation discrimination. Additionally, all these laws do not stipulate a requirement that the jobs must be substantially equal.

Source: EEOC.gov, "Equal Pay/Compensation Discrimination," accessed on Nov. 26, 2014

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