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Discrimination in Wages
in BC Workplaces

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 An employer cannot pay one employee less than another employee of the opposite sex for the same or substantially similar work.

Skill, effort and responsibility determine what is "substantially similar work." Any inquiry into pay rates for employees who perform similar work will also take into account seniority systems, merits systems, and systems that measure earnings by quantity or quality of production, in order to determine if an employer has contravened the Code.

A difference in pay rate does not contravene the Code if the difference is due to a reasonable factor other than sex. For example, it is legal for a man in your company to make more than a woman who performs the same work because he has worked there longer. The difference is reasonably justifiable because it is based on seniority.

It is illegal for an employer to reduce an employee's rate of pay in order to equalize the wages of two employees of the opposite sex, who perform the same or substantially similar work. Instead, the employee who is making the lesser amount must be given a raise.

If you've suffered wage discrimination, you can recover the difference between the amount paid and the amount to which you are entitled, with costs. You must start the action no later than 12 months after termination, if you've been terminated. As well, the action can only cover the 12 months before starting the action, or the 12 months before your termination, whichever is earlier.

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This page partially updated: 2009.05.05
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