Only one group of employees were given a pay cut and no one else in the company had to take a pay cut is this discrimination?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022Fact Checked

Get Legal Help Today

Compare Quotes From Top Companies and Save

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

Only one group of employees were given a pay cut and no one else in the company had to take a pay cut is this discrimination?

A group of exempt employees all nurses, 30 females and 1 male, in a big bio-
pharmaceutical company were told that they had to take a 10 grand pay cut to
their base salary. No other employees had to take a pay cut in the company. Is
this discrimination since this group is all nurses in a sales organization and
mostly female?

Asked on February 1, 2018 under Employment Labor Law, Nebraska


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 4 years ago | Contributor

Giving pay cuts to a job classification (e.g. nurses) is not illegal discrimination, since employers may treat different jobs or professions differently. It's also not illegal to cut the pay of one group or unit or department, etc. at work. However, giving pay cuts to women and not men may well be  illegal discrimination, since an employer may not pay women and men differently or cut the pay of women and not men. While there was one man, since he represented only 3% of the employees whose pay was cut, the cut overwhelmingly affected women; this may be discrimination and it is likely worthwhile to file a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. It is *possible* that the employer will be able to show that there is some valid non-discriminatory reason for this cut--e.g. this particular group was working on a drug or product where sales were down or declining; or HR had done a salary survey of the industry and discovered that this company was significantly overpaying employees doing this job and they reduced salaries to bring their pay structure in line with industry norms; etc.--but if the company cannot point to objective, verifiable, and non-gender-discriminatory reasons for the cut, the female nurses may have a viable discrimination claim.
(Note: actions predominantly affecting one gender are permissible so long as there is a legitimate, veriably reason for it which has nothing to do with gender.)

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

secured lock Secured with SHA-256 Encryption