A 17-year-old in Kansas City experienced the ramifications of the gender wage gap firsthand when she was hired to work at pizza restaurant at the same time as her male friend.
Jensen Walcott and her friend, Jake Reed, both interviewed for a job at Pizza Studio and were hired after speaking with the restaurant’s manager.
When Walcott and Reed discussed their new positions, Walcott discovered that Reed was making $8.25 an hour while she was only offered $8, although “the two [were] the same age, [had] the same amount of experience and were hired for the same position,” according to AOL.
Walcott expected that a conversation with the manager would yield an explanation: “I was like maybe when I'm on hold right now, she will just offer me 8.25 and everything is gonna be good but... she didn't do that.”
Instead, Walcott was fired over the phone after the manager put her on hold and told her that discussing wages with coworkers was against company policy.
Reed was let go for the same reason.
Both teens alleged that the company had never warned them of this policy, nor is it standard procedure; according to Uproxx, “Under the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, pay secrecy policies are largely illegal.”
The most likely explanation is that the restaurant did not want to address the fact that they offered Walcott less due to her gender and decided to terminate both employees to end future discussion of the issue.
However, Walcott could potentially file an official complaint—at this time, she has suggested she is not interested in doing so, but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.
At the very least, the public pressure may force the company to commit to fair hiring practices in the future.
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