Most journalists prefer to be behind the stories they tell, not part of them. However, roughly 240 editors and reporters working for the Los Angeles Times and Tribune Publishing have just become the beneficiaries of a sizeable settlement related to discrimination.
What led to the settlement?
A San Bernardino County judge gave preliminary approval for a $3 million settlement for claims that minority and women journalists were paid less than their white, male counterparts for their work. The settlement allows the defendants to avoid admitting any wrongdoing.
The lawsuit developed after journalists from the LA Times joined the News Guild, which is part of the larger Communications Workers of America union. The union then obtained salary data that showed women and minority workers were being paid poorly in comparison to white, male employees. A class action lawsuit soon followed.
How does ‘salary silence’ lead to abuses by employers?
It’s highly likely that the discriminatory behavior would have continued if someone hadn’t started to compare notes regarding the wages of different employees because Americans are historically loath to discuss their salaries with each other.
“Salary silence,” however, only benefits the employer — which is why many encourage it. Employees are taught that they shouldn’t talk about their income and benefits with each other to avoid competition or resentments. In reality, the silence just allows employers to quietly favor some employees over others.
If you and a few other employees at your company have compared notes and find out that you’re not all being treated fairly, you can fight back. Employment discrimination is never okay. You have every right to seek fair compensation in court.