Discrimination has many faces. For some, discrimination means blatant violations of the law as in segregation and hate crimes. For others, discrimination happens every two weeks when they receive a smaller paycheck than their white, male peers. Unfortunately, both the U.S. Supreme Court and the University seem to think that the latter is of less concern.
In a split decision last week, the Supreme Court ruled that employees who want to sue their employers for wage discrimination must do so within 180 days of the date when their salary was determined. Ironically, the Court’s conservatives, who supposedly practice judicial restraint, ignored a mountain of precedent in their decision. But more importantly, this ruling makes future pay challenges unnecessarily difficult.
The Court’s decision ignores one major detail: most people don’t know how each coworker’s salary compares with their own. Putting a 180-day restriction on the period of time a person has to prove pay inequality is unreasonable, unconstitutional and absurd. Apparently, the Court believes that discrimination is okay as long as the victim is unaware of the injustice for six months. Seems a little contradictory to the Fourteenth Amendment, doesn’t it?
Sadly, another reality in the workplace is that pay discrimination happens frequently. The most common scenario of this injustice is the male employee who makes more than his female coworker. Although women may not enter jobs at lower wages than their male peers, they are often given smaller raises or passed up for promotions. Unfortunately, this form of discrimination is even present within the University.
A recent study by the Office of the Provost found that female employees at the University make 2.5 percent less than their male counterparts. While this percentage may be relatively better than the trend at other universities nationwide, that should not be an excuse for inaction. For a university that prides itself as a defender of diversity and equal opportunity, discriminating against female employees is nothing short of hypocritical.
Even more troubling is the University’s apparent indifference to this problem. Sure, the University conducts studies occasionally through the Office of the Provost to determine if pay differences exist; it did one in 1999, and it promises to conduct another next year. However, it continues to find the same results each time: Men are making more than women.
What is missing from these studies is a solution. For this reason, the University’s studies seem like nothing more than public relations gimmicks, creating a fa