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Gender discrimination in pay

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Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

Hi all, this week a male colleague who I oriented disclosed to me that he makes more money than me. Our hospital has ten "steps" in pay. I was hired as "beginning level" since that is the post I applied for (but had 4 years experience) and started at step 2. I move up a step each year, so now I'm on step 4. Recently my boss hired 6 new male nurses, and they were all hired at step 9 or 10, "advanced level". I think the positions they applied for specified advanced, but they all have 1-2 years of experience. They get paid about $24,000 a year more than I do! I have 7 years of experience now and I train all the new hires.

We investigated further and found out all the female nurses are hired at lower steps. A few talked to our boss. She says she can't jump us up the steps, we just automatically move up once a year. All she can control is the step we're hired at, which I guess is related to the job posting we applied for, and somewhat to her discretion (unclear). Many suspect she favors male nurses. All our male coworkers are wonderful, and even joked they will do all the heavy lifting to try to make up for it. They are willing to help us talk to HR and disclose their pay. Does anyone have any recommendations? I thought my salary was fair until I found out about this. I don't want them to make less, I just want equality. Thanks all.

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

It's fairly common for newcomers to make more than established employees, no matter the gender. They've already got you, after all.

I managed to negotiate a yearly increase five times higher than the "pay scale allowed" after being told multiple times that it wasn't possible. Sometimes, it's just a matter of knowing your market value.

Some say men are more willing to take the risk of demanding a higher salary, while women are more likely to be "nice" and not push back too hard. I have no idea if that's true, but it sounds like it could be.

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

Thanks for the reply! I guess that kind of makes sense... kind of makes me want to quit though! I have an interview at an outpatient surgery center, maybe time to escape covid ICU where the people I train make more than me LOL

NICU Guy, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 6 years experience.

59 minutes ago, LibraNurse27 said:

I was hired as "beginning level" since that is the post I applied for (but had 4 years experience) and started at step 2.

You agreed to that pay when you were hired. What other nurses (male or female) negotiated when they were hired has no basis on what you accepted.

57 minutes ago, LibraNurse27 said:

They are willing to help us talk to HR and disclose their pay.

HR already has access to your pay rates.

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

Yes, I definitely was hired and agreed to be paid what they offered. I am just surprised to find out that others are hired at a much higher salary. But based on what I can see it is all totally legal, and no way for me to advocate to have my pay increased to match theirs, as the paperwork clearly says you can only move up one step per year. So best to just move on and be more careful during the hiring process this year. Thanks for the confirmation.

FolksBtrippin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

When I found out my male partner was making more than me, I demanded equal pay and I got it.

Fight. Contact the ACLU. Good Luck.

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

1 minute ago, FolksBtrippin said:

When I found out my male partner was making more than me, I demanded equal pay and I got it.

Fight. Contact the ACLU. Good Luck.

WOW!! I do understand that I was hired at a certain step and agreed to that salary. I'm just wondering why all the male nurses are highbred at a higher step than any female nurse. I kind of wish I never found out! But, too late now. I can't know about it and not do anything.

Numenor, BSN, MSN, NP

Specializes in Internal Medicine. Has 9 years experience.

This is why performance based systems for pay are much better than step/union BS. Negotiate from the beginning, this is one of the main reasons I left bedside nursing. I hated the fact that even know I was competent and performed well I would never make even close to the older lazy nurses who had been there before the dinosaurs...

Sour Lemon

Has 9 years experience.

23 hours ago, LibraNurse27 said:

I kind of wish I never found out! But, too late now. I can't know about it and not do anything.

This is exactly the response they're counting on. I went back and forth with my manager for what seemed like eternity ...until she quietly wrote out a much higher number and pushed it towards me. Until that point, she'd insisted that it was not possible.

Katie82, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, PH, CM. Has 39 years experience.

Better check before you involve your co-workers. Some Systems have rules against discussing your salary with a co-worker. Check before you get them in trouble. Sounds like you are being paid the salary you negotiated. I would look at outpatient surgery.

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

I found out the issue is when the union negotiated our latest contract per diem employees fought for a clause that states their hourly pay cannot be decreased by more than 5% when they become permanent, even though they get benefits and pension. So a low per diem step translates to a high permanent step in terms of hurly pay because permanent is supposed to take into account the benefits. Not sure how that went through!

It turns out not to be a gender thing, thank God. Just happens to be all the people who went permanent after the clause are men. Those of us who switched to permanent before this date, and those hired directly to permanent make $20,000 to $30,000 less per year. I missed the date by 6 months! I am happy for those guys though! Some are working around it by leaving their permanent positions, going per diem, then coming back permanent at a higher step! Sneaky, LOL. But I would feel guilty making more than nurses who have worked there 20 years. What a world LOL thanks to all and sorry for the rant!

GoodNP

Specializes in Cardiology, Research, Family Practice.

On 8/6/2020 at 8:11 PM, LibraNurse27 said:

I found out the issue is when the union negotiated our latest contract per diem employees fought for a clause that states their hourly pay cannot be decreased by more than 5% when they become permanent, even though they get benefits and pension. So a low per diem step translates to a high permanent step in terms of hurly pay because permanent is supposed to take into account the benefits. Not sure how that went through!

It turns out not to be a gender thing, thank God. Just happens to be all the people who went permanent after the clause are men. Those of us who switched to permanent before this date, and those hired directly to permanent make $20,000 to $30,000 less per year. I missed the date by 6 months! I am happy for those guys though! Some are working around it by leaving their permanent positions, going per diem, then coming back permanent at a higher step! Sneaky, LOL. But I would feel guilty making more than nurses who have worked there 20 years. What a world LOL thanks to all and sorry for the rant!

That's BS. Hospitals should be ashamed to treat their existing employees with such disrespect and lack of appreciation. LOLOL what am I saying??? I crack myself up.

Anyway, I would not be able to stay there unless I was paid equitably. Sounds like it's time for a change of scenery.

OUxPhys, BSN, RN

Specializes in Cardiology. Has 4 years experience.

On 8/6/2020 at 9:11 PM, LibraNurse27 said:

I found out the issue is when the union negotiated our latest contract per diem employees fought for a clause that states their hourly pay cannot be decreased by more than 5% when they become permanent, even though they get benefits and pension. So a low per diem step translates to a high permanent step in terms of hurly pay because permanent is supposed to take into account the benefits. Not sure how that went through!

It turns out not to be a gender thing, thank God. Just happens to be all the people who went permanent after the clause are men. Those of us who switched to permanent before this date, and those hired directly to permanent make $20,000 to $30,000 less per year. I missed the date by 6 months! I am happy for those guys though! Some are working around it by leaving their permanent positions, going per diem, then coming back permanent at a higher step! Sneaky, LOL. But I would feel guilty making more than nurses who have worked there 20 years. What a world LOL thanks to all and sorry for the rant!

That's great to hear but perhaps you should have investigated this first before screaming gender discrimination.

Based on pay inequity, I need a change of scenery. Unfortunately the scenes I have been able to scope out based on pay are so much worse than the one I’m stuck in.

On 8/6/2020 at 8:57 PM, Katie82 said:

Some Systems have rules against discussing your salary with a co-worker

And those rules would be a violation of the National Labor Relations Act.

Edited by JKL33

LibraNurse27, BSN, RN

Specializes in Community Health, Med/Surg, ICU Stepdown. Has 8 years experience.

Yeah, I don't see how I could break the law by listening to coworkers voluntarily disclose their salaries to me. I didn't ask them any questions, they brought it up because they were surprised and happy.

My strategy is to quit and get a new benefitted job, but stay per diem, and come back full time at a higher rate, basically take advantage of this crazy system. I still think my pay is fair, I just feel discouraged and unappreciated working next to people (who I really like!) doing the same job but making $20,000 to $30,000 a year more than me. It's the difference in whether I can afford a down payment on a house or not. Maybe it happened as an oversight, but I still can't continue to feel disrespected.

I think it's a coincidence that so far only male nurses have benefitted from this, but others have their own theories. I don't want to get more into it and either make false accusations or get more upset if it's true. Thanks all for the advice and support.

7 hours ago, OUxPhys said:

That's great to hear but perhaps you should have investigated this first before screaming gender discrimination.

I agree and fully admit my mistake. I shouldn't have gotten swept up in the claims of others without doing my research and finding the facts. Evidence based practice!

At the end of the day a hospital is not your friend, it is a business.

What you allow is what will continue. If you let them hire you at less, that’s what they will do. They are in the business of making money.

Edited by damianus

On 8/4/2020 at 8:49 PM, LibraNurse27 said:

Yes, I definitely was hired and agreed to be paid what they offered. I am just surprised to find out that others are hired at a much higher salary. But based on what I can see it is all totally legal, and no way for me to advocate to have my pay increased to match theirs, as the paperwork clearly says you can only move up one step per year. So best to just move on and be more careful during the hiring process this year. Thanks for the confirmation.

If Man was meant to fly, he would have wings. Hmm, seems that reasoning was WRONG!!!

Slap your face, Girl. Square your shoulders. Get organized, the whole fearful bunch of you. Organize a protest. Peaceful but do it. No one is going to give you women anything.

Take your male colleagues up on their offer to march to HR with you.

As a last resort, go public - as in TV stations and newspapers. Definitely try a more peaceful approach first.

If you are good enough to train new guys, you deserve at least the same pay. At least.

Or you can just do the running away you are thinking of doing. Did you have that interview planned before this shocking matter came to your attention?

Best wishes.