Dear Jido,

Person A, who used to be my supervisor, was recently replaced by Person B, who had other, needed skills. Now Person A is doing exactly what I do, only at his old salary – which, because of his former status, is higher than mine. Person A is also a male; I am female.

Do I have a right to ask for a salary adjustment? Or are higher salaries grandfathered in, despite a change in the landscape such as what I’ve described?

If the owner of my company doesn’t respond to a question about this – I’ve sent the question two times – do I have any other options? What do you suggest?

Signed,

Overlooked

Dear Overlooked,

As always, there are a few options. You can take the legal approach and claim – prejudice. However, this does not appear to be a case of discrimination since your coworker was actually demoted and not promoted. In any event I would never recommend that you approach the owners from a standpoint of Labor Law – it only gets their guard up and can never benefit you in the long run.

Rather, a more moderate approach might be to look at it from their perspective.

In a boss’s mind every position has a salary range in which they are willing to pay a person to perform. In my younger days, I had someone working for me that didn’t get a raise in six years because she was at the “top of her range.” (She got bonuses but not salary increases.)

Obviously, if he is making more than you and is doing the same work, then in their minds there is a range of how much they are willing to pay to get the job done. (Otherwise, they would have fired him.)

He may have other skills you may not have that justifies the higher salary, but bottom line, they are getting the same day to day output from him that you are providing. So there is room to negotiate.

Definitely do NOT mention the word discrimination and do NOT stress that he is male you are female – only that you are doing the same work and would like them to consider giving you a higher salary because they obviously recognize that it is worth more than what they are currently paying you.

Don’t send an email.  Tell your boss – Mr. So and So, I would like to discuss something with you. Do you have a minute?  You are not overstepping your bounds and you are definitely NOT out of range.

Hatzlacha,

Jido