April 11, 2019

Kathryn Marshall was interviewed by Global about Equal Pay laws in Ontario, and what an employee can do when they find out they are being paid less than their co-worker for the same type of work:

“In Ontario, the equal pay for equal work standard may not apply when the difference in pay is made on the basis of a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by production quantity or quality, or any other factor other than sex, Marshall said.

Federally, she says there’s even more exceptions in the country’s Pay Equity Act. “The federal act seems far more onerous on employers to keep records and establish plans,” she added.”

If you do think you’re being paid less because of your gender, Marshall says your first best bet is to talk to your boss or HR department and ask why you’re making less than other employees.

“Compensation, of course, is usually based on a whole bunch of criteria and factors,” she explained. “An employee should find out [if] there’s a legitimate reason why another person is making more [money].”

Marshall said by asking your employer about a pay discrepancy instead of accusing them of sexism or discrimination, you’re allowing them to explain themselves to you.

“You want it to be a professional conversation where you’re actually just asking the questions, like, ‘Why is this person making more than me? We have the same job,’” she said. “Put it in their zone and have the employer explain what’s going on.”

Based on what your employer says, Marshall suggests trying to rectify the pay discrepancy with them directly. Marshall said employers do not want to be accused of sexism or pay discrimination, so they may work with you to resolve the issue right away.

“See if you can negotiate a higher salary for yourself on that basis,” she said.