(Huffington Post) -- Something we can do right now to combat pay inequality in the workplace is talk with our co-workers about our salaries. While Congress works to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to address the multiple barriers to pay equality, knowing our rights could help us now.
A few things stand in the way of this seemingly simple task. It is still considered inappropriate to talk openly about money, especially in the workplace, where we could be making more than our colleague. In the fight for equal pay, studies show it is imperative that employees be able to compare salaries, especially if they are doing similar work and not paid the same. Knowing pay information gives us the bargaining power we need when negotiating salary. Beyond that, employers often tell employees they would be fired or reprimanded for speaking openly with others about their salaries. While this practice is common in the American workplace, it is actually illegal.
We all know the numbers, but they bear repeating. According to Equal Rights Advocates, the wage gap in my home state of California robs more than $33 billion each year from women working full-time. Black women make just 64 cents for every dollar earned by white men, and Latina employees claim just 44 cents. In fact, California has the biggest wage gap for Latinas in the country.
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