Our jobs can offer more than money as reward, but it’s safe to say money is a key factor. Everyone needs money for housing, food, transportation and pretty much everything else. Accordingly, we want to know that we’re getting paid fairly.
The trick is that it’s not always easy to know what fair pay looks like. We typically know what we make, but we don’t always know what our peers make. To argue that you’re not receiving fair pay, you usually must make a comparison. The good news is that this is generally easier for federal employees than for people in the private sector.
Most federal salaries are available
As FedSmith recently reported, the government shares information about federal salaries, and that information is now current through 2022.
The FedSmith article covered the steps you can take to look up salary information through FedsDataCenter.com. You can find employees listed by their names, occupations and agencies. That means you can explore whether you are right to feel that your agency is paying you less than your co-workers for the same work.
There are some criteria that might reasonably permit agencies to pay employees differently for the same set of responsibilities. The EEOC notes that these may include differences in several categories:
- Quality or quantity of production
However, agencies need to prove that these exceptions exist when there’s a pay difference between two people of different genders who perform equivalent work. Here, “equivalent work” means that the positions demand the same or similar qualifications, effort and responsibility.
It takes work to build a discrimination case
In a recent blog, we noted that the federal government paid out more than $70 million for discrimination claims in 2020. That shows not only that federal agencies continue to discriminate against some employees, but that those employees can win their cases.
Nonetheless, many employees who report discrimination fail to make their cases compelling. You need to show more than a wage difference to win a discrimination case. You need to understand the laws, the system and the strength of your evidence. In most cases, this means you want the help of an experienced attorney.
Still, the fact that you can find your coworkers’ salaries online means you can take the first step on your own. If you want, you can even do it right now.