I can’t let you know my name since the firm I bought for equal pay purchased my jumps with their compensation. But I could tell you that my story anonymously at the hopes it will help you in the event that you’re in precisely the similarly circumstance.
I have an MBA, twenty decades of expertise in my area, and has been the sole woman from the sea of guys to make a place in my firm’s management group. After coming from an elongated maternity leave and battling hard to recover my place within the job ladder, then I felt to be an inspiration to the countless girls working : I had been proof positive they too would aspire to and achieve the greatest levels.
Then an email pulled the carpet out from under me.
Nothing in my education or years at the workplace ready me to the afternoon I understood that my male colleagues were paid 50% to 100% greater than I had been.
Being an strange girl out
The email thread started with a petition from an individual board member to the amount of workers we had in every group of our paycheck. Pay scales are made to make sure that every function is ranked independently and fairly. On the other hand, the answer to his notice told another story.
At the maximum group of our firm’s pay scale, there was only one less individual than the variety of individuals on our management group – which’s when I understood I had been the odd girl out.
The before all else person I told was my spouse. Although he had been sympathetic and mad, he was too anxious. "We can’t manage that you lose your work. You overlook ‘t know what the salary gap is… if it’s only a few thousand dollars, is it worth potentially ruining your career there? "
I had to collect more information, so I switched into the brief list of coworkers that I understood I could totally trust. Outside the office I demand every person, "Do you remember that pay scale email? I’m not on the similarly pay level as you. This is my salary, do you make more? "
The moment of truth
When I discovered my coworkers have been compensated in the middle 50% to 100% greater than I had been we’re talking thousands of dollars more – I had been habituated, stunned and shattered. I felt ill. I felt betrayed.
For many years I sat in precisely the similarly dining table, attended the similarly conventions and handled the similarly challenges because the guys in my side. I was told that my gifts to the company had been worth a portion of theirs.
I wished to rush in the construction, catch the coffee mug along with family photograph in my desk and then run out crying. Rather I hired a feminine occupation attorney who understood that my business well.
Heading into conflict
In our first meeting, my attorney looked at me over her desk and "Nearly every woman who files an equal pay claim ends up leaving her job. Regardless of the outcome. Are you prepared to walk away? "
I nodded, my neck tight in the idea of abandoning my livelihood and starting fresh somewhere else. I answered, "I don’t find how I could remain there, knowing what I know. However, I’m not walking off without the cash I am expected. " The battle was on.
I used social media to put subtle pressure on the company. I would write, "I ran to a girl with an occasion and she explained the wildest story…" and then I would lay out my own details for everyone to see. Comments flooded in, even from fellow employees who had no idea that the "girl " in my post was actually me.
Those comments gave me light in the darkest moments. They also reminded the faceless company that I was not going down without a fight.
Here’s what else I realized: There is no glory for a company that gets taken to court over equal pay. Even if they ultimately win, the damage along the way cannot be ignored. They may have the power of size and money, but I had power, too: Investors and future employees would hear my voice and would potentially decide to put their money and time elsewhere.
The reality of fighting for what’s fair
Here is what no one will tell you about fighting an equal pay claim: It is a waiting game. The company – emotionless and faceless – will drag out every single meeting and deliverable, hoping that you will succumb to the anger and leave without costing them one cent.
Six months passed in the middle the day I realized I was underpaid and the last day I went into the office. Each and every day, I woke up, got dressed and went into my job.
Months of stall tactics, negotiation, threats and waiting… and finally we reached concession over my settlement amount. In exchange for me leaving my job immediately and agreeing never to work for them again, for keeping quiet and saying nary a negative word, they would pay me all of the back pay I was owed.
It hardly seems fair, and yet I celebrated, I wept with joy. But the battle did not come without injury.
During the equal pay ordeal, my health unraveled with the stress, and my family walked on eggshells for months. I had nightmares; sometimes I still do. But that settlement money became a nest-egg, affording me time to stay home and grieve, to rebuild my confidence and lick my wounds.
I fought because I could
Why did I stay and fight for what was right? Because I am one of the lucky ones. I have a supportive spouse. I had money to pay for legal support. I could feel the anger of millions of women around the world, who have been slighted, harassed and held back, and it powered me on the days I felt I couldn’t move on.
I had some fantastic colleagues – both female and male – that labored behind the scenes to give support and ammunition. They discussed their own wages and confirmed my own suspicions. I couldn’t have recognized my situation and obtained a settlement without the support of these quiet fans.
I won the struggle for back cover, and I came back out a fresh girl. My blind optimism was burnt off, however I am more powerful than previously.
(Editor’s note: This story is printed anonymously in the writer’s petition to be able to abide by her settlement concession. "This is my way of regaining my voice and helping other women who might be going through the similarly," she states. In case you’ve experienced sex discrimination and need to discuss your story with all the Intexchange community, then email us in [email protected])