Tuesday, June 28, 2016

How many ways can you violate employment laws in one conversation?

Time for an issue-spotter pop quiz. I'll paraphrase the setup from this CDT article, Teen fired after asking for the same pay as her male co-worker at a pizza shop (assuming the facts as-reported are true):
A young woman calls her employer to complain that a young man with the same job (and experience level) is making more money for the same work. The employer fires her immediately and claims it was for violating a policy against discussing pay with co-workers.
Ready, annnnd.... go!
  •  The male gets paid more than the female for substantially equal work - prima facie Equal Pay Act violation!
  • The employer treated a substantially similar male better than the female in an employment action (pay decision) - prima facie disparate treatment claim under Title VII!
  • The employee engaged in protected activity (complaining about wage discrimination), suffered a materially adverse action (termination), and there appears to be a causal connection (extraordinarily short temporal proximity) - prima facie retaliation claim under Title VII!
  • The employee acted in concert with her male co-worker to address the terms and conditions of her employment by discussing their wages and got fired for expressly that reason - prima facie case of retaliation for protected concerted activity under the NLRA (at least according to the NLRB's interpretation of it)! 
And that's just the federal law! Four solid prima facie cases in a two-sentence setup. That's gotta be some kind of record. Did I miss any? The employer may have some defenses (and there may be disputes of fact), but this certainly does not sound very good. 

HT: Saw it on Facebook via Justin Miller