The good news: Wage discrimination is illegal in Florida. Laws prohibit employers from paying women and men different wages for the same work.

The bad news: Wage discrimination is alive and well in Florida. A recent study confirms women in Florida earn less money than men for the same work.

Identifying wage discrimination

The National Partnership for Women & Children spells it out. Women in Florida make about 85 cents to every $1 that a man makes, the report says.

A woman can expect a median annual salary of $36,746. For men, the median salary is $42,261. That extra $5,515 could pay for child care, health insurance and other expenses.

The impact of lower wages goes far beyond weekly and annual salaries. A woman making less will receive less in Social Security benefits. They also have less money for investing toward their retirement.

Investigating wage discrepancies

How do you determine if you are the victim of wage discrimination? First, you have to know the pay of your co-workers. And how do you find out? You may just ask them. Private employers cannot stop you from discussing pay. In the public sector, pay is a matter of open record.

Next, talk to your employer if you feel you are a victim of wage discrimination. Make a formal complaint stating your case. Your employer now has a chance to address the problem.

Document all conversations with your employer. Keep a record of dates, times, places and who said what. You are compiling evidence crucial to your case.

You can pursue your complaint if your employer does not address the problem. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will investigate and attempt to resolve your case.

Dealing with discrimination

An employer may refuse to admit to wage discrimination. Your company’s HR department may try to hide behind claims of employee seniority and vague references to merit.

Wage discrimination is unfair and illegal. Be wary of making innocent mistakes in proving your case, and prepare to protect your rights.