Question/ Problem Definition
Inthe US, wage rate discrimination is rampant. It violates thefundamental human rights because it influences the economic andsocial factors of individuals. Clearly, discrimination in theworkplace and governments across the world continues to increase atan unimaginable rate. There has been a continuous discrimination ofminority groups and women based on their wages. This practice givesmen more privileges in the work environment regarding resources.Women, on the other hand, continue to face hardship and poor pay.Employees who are discriminated based on their wages are prone topoverty and inability to meet the required goals. Discriminationlimits the freedom and capabilities of employees, especially whenchoosing to pursue their individuals’ goals and organizationalobjectives. Additionally, it also leads to loss of skills andcompetencies, frustration and sense of humiliation. The study willprimary focus on answering the question “Is there wage ratediscrimination in the US government today?”
Basically,Discrimination refers to the treatment of individuals differentlybased on various characteristics like gender, race, and wages. Payrate discrimination occurs when an employer pays some of theemployees less amount of wages for similar jobs done. Thelegislations passed by the Obama administration is evident enoughthat pay rate discrimination exists in the US (Lam, 2016). Arguably,it has been one of the problems that the government has tried toeradicate. The discrimination is mainly gender sensitive. These meanthat women suffer from wage discrimination compared to men.Traditional human resource (HR) practices are largely blamed for thepay discrimination in the US government. Women are discriminatedbecause the wage practices were formed when they were the minorityworkforce.
Additionally,the legislations made by Obama administration were mandated toaddress the pay rate discrimination that was prevalent in severalstates. Although it was an executive action, it required eachcorporation with more than 100 employees to file a report to federalauthorities (Whitehouse, 2015). The report should contain the amountsthey pay their workers where the wages are divided by gender, race,and ethnicity. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)together with the department of labor ensures that the regulationsare followed to the later. According to Lam (2016), the enactment ofthe legislation by the Obama administration aims at improvingtransparency in the workplace. It assists in eradicatingdiscrimination and reduction of the gender pay gap. Women who workfull-time earn 21 cents less than a man who works at the same rate(Lam, 2016).
Thewage rate discrimination in the US government stands at 2.5% highercompared to other average industrialized countries in the world.According to the legislation, employees had the right to filelawsuits against their respective employers in cases of wagediscrimination (Lam, 2016). Other acts that the US government haspassed regarding wage discrimination include Lilly Ledbetter Fair PayAct, Paycheck Fairness Act and formation of labor courts anddepartment across the country (Whitehouse, 2015). EEOC encourages theefforts by the Obama administration because the information assiststhem in identifying the various possible wage discrimination cases. This promotes the relationship between employers and employees inareas concerning equal pay in the work environment.
However,the effort by the Obama administration was criticized by others as itwas seen as an executive action (Lam, 2016). The passing of thelegislation does not guarantee that corporation will follow them. Fora lasting solution towards wage rate discrimination in the US,concerned bodies need to make sure that the legislation passesthrough the Senate such that it is approved acknowledged by citizens.It would be wise for the Obama administration to work with Congressinstead of around them. This would ensure transparency and evidentialdifference especially on the lives of hardworking families (Lam,2016).
Wagerate discrimination in the US government has led to formations oflabor associations. They have played a pivotal role in addressingwage discrimination. Unions fight discrimination both in the localand international labor markets. There are various types ofassociations depending on areas they address (Hancké, 2014).Industrial unions cover a diverse occupation, the employees underthis scheme are usually semi or low skilled. Craft union comprises aworkforce with high skills and pay the employees participate insimilar occupations. Craft unions developed more quickly in the UScompared to industrial unions. The craft workers were difficult toreplace if on strike, unlike industrial workers who were less skilledand diverse making them unable to use strikes as a weapon (Hancké,2014).
Thefirst labor union in the US was formed in 1881. It was known asFederation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions. The AmericanFederation of Labor (AFL) was formed five years later as areplacement of the first trade union (Hancké, 2014). AFL organizedcraft unions and fought against industrial unions. The conflictbetween the craft union and industrial union led to the formation ofCommittee for Industrial Organization (CIO). However, the AFL and CIOhave been reunited and form one of the strongest labor movements inthe US. The Congress started becoming sympathetic towards workforcesas time progressed. This led to the creation of labor department inthe government (Hancké, 2014). There has been a drastic decrease inthe number of US workers in labor unions from 20% to 11% in 1983 and2013 respectively (Whitehouse, 2015). The decline is contributed bythe fall in the rates of wage discrimination. There has been anincreased sensitivity on matters concerning discrimination by theunions in the workplace. This has forced the employers to establish amechanism that seeks to tackle conflicts among the wage rates withtheir respective employees.
Paydiscrimination in the US government is based on ages of employees.Conversely, more people enter the unions as their ages increasebecause several companies prefer young and energetic employees intheir workforce. Wage discrimination in the US is also prevalentamong the older employees. Most companies believe that as an employeeages, their productivity continues to decrease in the enterprise.They are thus faced with a dilemma of laying them off or reducingtheir wages compared to other employees performing the same job. Theprocess of laying off older worker requires a lot of resources andeasily lead to lawsuits. These encourage companies to discriminatetheir employees based on their wages. This is unfair because when theemployees were at a productive age, they played a significant role inensuring that the goals and objectives of the organization were met.It would ruin the reputation of the employer since most workers donot prefer working in firms that do not take care of their interestin the long run (Rossheim, 2016).
Thereis wage discrimination in the US since it has influenced theformation of labor unions in several countries. Canada comprises ofone of the countries that imported the factors and influences fromthem through international unions. There was a large rate of wagediscrimination in the US in the past, which prompted the country tobe one of the first labor union states. The oppression by the Britishaccelerated the need to have unions that bargained for improvedemployment conditions among the natives.
Laborunions use various tools in the process of collective bargaining. Thetools include union membership, arbitration, strikes and divergencetactics. Membership of labor unions depends on legislation,composition of employment, wage differentials, and tastes or socialattitudes. There has been a change of unions in US because employeesprefer those unions that address their plights at a personal level.The inclusiveness of women in the labor force has also led todivergence. Industries have formed their unions mandated to fight theemployee`s unions. Additionally, increased competitive pressure onboth workers and staff has grown wage rate discrimination in the US.The competition for limited employment opportunities among theemployees contributes to discrimination. With this factor in play, ithas forced the employers to pay their employees depending on thelabor supply and demand in the market (Coukos, 2012).
Wagerate discrimination in the US has led to the establishment of minimumwage legislation. Currently, the rate in the US stands at $7.25 perhour (Whitehouse, 2014). When it is raised, the economic growth iseasily felt by a country due to the positive nature. As the minimumwage is pushed up, it tends to reduce the number of employees onwelfare because they are motivated to work and improve theirproductivity. The minimum wage helped in reducing wage ratediscrimination in the US (Whitehouse, 2014). Although the practice ofraising the minimum wage is long overdue, it will be useful invarying the problems of poor Americans who have been discriminated ontheir salaries.
Minimumwages redefines the nature of the workforce. However, for it to beeffective at the corporations’ level, the government needs torestructure its labor departments (Whitehouse, 2014). Provision ofthe minimum wage to employees especially women is vital oneradicating pay rate discrimination. Arguably, women are highlyconcentrated in sectors prone to low wages for personal care, healthcare support and employment opportunities (Whitehouse, 2015).Additionally, by increasing the minimum wage to the required level,women would benefit as they form more than 55% workforce in themarket.
Thedisadvantage of using minimum wage legislations as means of curbingpay rate discrimination in the US is more harmful to the economy. Itoften limits the creation of more jobs in the market especially thosethat do not cater for basic employee needs and wants (Whitehouse,2014). Moreover, most employees agree that they are never satisfiedwith their pay. When their wages are compared to other employees whohave more experience and qualification, it often brings out thementality that they are paid less than they are entitled to. Thiscreates conflicts on some minimum wages that ought to be paid as ameasure of wage discrimination among workers (Whitehouse, 2014).
Payrate discrimination in the workplace is common in women. Moreover, itexists in the government since the membership and density of unionsin the US has more females than males. Men are the most preferredworkforce at several companies because of the little engagement bothat work and home environment. However, over the precedent century,women in America have made a considerable mark in the labor market.They have brought their expertise and experience in the market. Womenhave the ability to hold more than two jobs, and there is a smalllikelihood of seeking self-employment compared to men. For the past50 years, the contribution of women in the labor force would not gounnoticed. Presently, women are considered as the bread winners ofseveral families in the US.
Despitethe participation of women in the labor and job market, wagediscrimination still exists. This has led to the need to sensitizethe employers and employees on the pay gap. On April 14 of each year,Americans marks the Equal Pay Day. It represents the degree anaverage American woman has to work in addition to her presentactivities in order to be paid what the average American man earns.The measurements are done on based on the equal work conditions andperformance levels.
Thewage discrimination arises from the diverse work histories comparedto men. With the fact that women have to balance between children andcareers they still earn less than men. Women are vulnerable to takingtheir time off or even quit their jobs to take care of their childrenat home. Several women prefer to stay at home and look after theirchildren by reducing their complicated schedules and adjusting fortime to spend at home (Coukos, 2012). US government does not provideoptions in the workplace, particularly for parents. The burdenusually falls on women than men. Although the burden falls on them,most women are unwilling to leave their jobs. The inefficiency ofpaid family leave and child care assistance influences the growth ofwomen in the workforce (Coukos, 2012). The corporate and governmentagencies do not provide support for the women through provisions ofservices like paid leave and affordable child care. The services willbe aimed at boosting women wages.
Payrate discrimination exists in the US because women tend to cluster insome areas compared to men. Those job opportunities that aredominated by women usually pay less. From the various statistics doneon employment rate and opportunities, women are paid less in everyjob category. There is wage discrimination even in those jobs thatare dominated by women, or even the society dictates that they arewomen oriented (Rossheim, 2016). Jobs like teachers, nurses, andsecretaries carry a significant percentage of women. However, men whoare working in these categories tend to earn more. Women also makeless in male dominated job categories like finance, manufacturing,agriculture and mining (Coukos, 2012).
Thisis unfair to women because they have the ability to perform wellcompared to men. In situations where they both have equal educationlevel, women are still discriminated based on the wages offered.Factors like grades and majors are not taken into consideration whenpayments are given in the job market. Women are supposed to makecomparable earnings to men especially during their first year of workbecause they are both inexperienced. This is not the case since womenmake less than men in their first work (Rossheim, 2016).
Payscalewebsite has provided a platform where individuals have the ability toshare their salaries. Employees from various organizations are ableto compare their salaries with other employees engaging in the sameprofession (Ferro, 2015). This is evident enough that wage ratediscrimination still exists in America. Payscale is important towomen because it provides an avenue to those who need to beknowledgeable if they are being paid less compared to their malecounterparts (Ferro, 2015). The website provides accurate informationsince the users are full-time employees. It shows that women makeless each and every year. Wage discrimination on women starts whenthey begin their careers. Although their salaries will rise as theycontinue working, their lifetime earnings will be much less comparedto those of men who started working with them (Ferro, 2015).According to Payscale website, the wage gap still stands at 2.7percent for men. The factors influencing the gap are uncontrollablethough it needs government intervention in the workplace (Ferro,2015).
Wagerate discrimination exists in America because of the choices made bywomen in the job market. Women chose those industries that are lessdemanding both in occupation and work arrangements. These mean thatthe life decisions made by women encourage wage discrimination. Womenprefer those careers that are less involving. One cannot expect anemployee to work for long hours, yet the pay is equal to an employeewho works for short hours (Whitehouse, 2015).
Thesigning of Fair Pay Act by the California governor is also evidencethat wage discrimination still exists. Although the legislation istermed as foolish because it seeks to empower women to the extent ofmen, it does not address the need to eradicate wage discrimination inCalifornia (Ketterer, 2015). In 2014, the US Congress rejected theact because it termed it as an illusion in nature. Though it mayappear reasonable to both employees and employers, the statisticsprove otherwise. The majority of women in California earn more thanwhat men receive. To be specific women earn 84 cents more for everydollar men earn (Ketterer, 2015). From the evidence the CaliforniaFair Pay Act is vague in nature. It will make it difficult forinvestors to do business in the state. The basing of wages on theexperience, training and educational background would increase theregulatory-compliance budgets for companies. It would be complex todetermine the quality of work produced by employees since it wouldencourage lawsuits. The resources that would be used in addressingthe trials would be well suited for hiring more workers or even raisewages (Ketterer, 2015).
Althoughpay rate discrimination exists in the US, little evidence isavailable on its existence. According to various researchers, thewage gap exists even after conventional factors like types of workperformed, education and experience. It has been established thatdiscrimination contributes to the difference in wages. The status ofwomen in the society has led them to accept the difference in wagesthough they have to work extra hours compared to men. Discriminationbased on salaries in the workplace has also been contributed by womenpreference to career paths that do not involve numerous work time andenergy. Establishment of family-friendly policies in the workenvironment enables the workers to choose jobs they are wellconversant with and able to increase productivity.
Corporationsand government agencies should ensure that the proposals by thepresident adhere to such that all employees are obligated and havethe right to receive fair pay. It ensures that wages do not depend onexistence and magnitude of the job rather than the quality of workthe employees produces. Employees who feel that they experience paydiscrimination must talk to employers who make a decision aboutsalaries. Availing of mentoring opportunities will help employees whofeel sidelined on their wages to develop connections and learning newskills that will move them to high paying jobs.
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Ketterer,S. (2015). The‘Wage Gap’ Myth That Won’t Die.WSJ.Retrieved 10 August 2016, fromhttp://www.wsj.com/articles/the-wage-gap-myth-that-wont-die-1443654408
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