Equal Pay Day highlights continuing gender pay gap

The Equal Pay Act became law in Texas and across the country on June 10, 1963. It mandates that women receive the same pay as men for the same work, but the pay gap continues and varies based on race as well. On average, women earn 80 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn according to data published by equalpaytoday.org. For the year 2018, Equal Pay Day was April 10. That's the day a woman had to work through to earn the money a man earned in 2017.

Broken down further, Asian women earned 87 cents to a dollar versus men while white women earned 79 cents; black women earned 63 cents per dollar of their male coworkers' pay, and Native American women and Latina women earned only 57 cents and 54 cents, respectively. A law professor at Howard University suggested moving Equal Pay Day to November 1 through which Latina women, for whom the gender pay gap is greatest, have to work to symbolically earn as much as a man earned in the previous year.

Women finish college and earn degrees at higher rates than men, but research indicates that the number of women stuck in low-paying jobs is increasing. This is especially true for women of color, who are over-represented in minimum wage jobs. Only 24 Fortune 500 CEOs are women.

Individuals who have been discriminated against or otherwise treated unfairly at work may have legal claims for damages. In a case where wage and hour laws are not followed, for example, a person may be entitled to compensation or other relief. An attorney with experience in employment law may help in such a case by reviewing facts and gathering evidence in preparation for negotiations or trial. An attorney might be able to negotiate settlement with the employer or draft and file an action for damages.

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