Hello and thank you for entrusting me to assist you. My goal is to answer your question completely and thoroughly and to provide excellent service.
I am very sorry to hear about your situation and can understand why you are frsutrated, essentially being paid less than someone with less experience.
Let me tell you up front that employers have extremely broad distrection to pay employees whatever amounts they feel are appropriate and that these decisions need not be and indeed often are not fair. The only circumstance in which discrepancies in pay become illegal is if they are motivated by an employee's race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age (over 40), or sexual orientation.
Since age is a "protected characteristic" upon which a claim for discrimination can be based, pay decisions premised on your age CAN be actionable. The catch, however, is in proving that age and not some other legal factor was the reason for the difference in pay.
You can expect your employer to argue that the lower pay you received had nothing to do with your age and more to do with the fact that you are newer with the company and, by practice, newer employees generally receive lower pay. Although the younger less experienced employee seems to be unfairly paid more, you can also expect your employer to argue that this is due to his longer employment with the company. Loyalty and knowledge about the particular company's inner workins are valuable, and it is permissible to pay an employee more on this basis.
All of the above noted, if you believe that you can prove by a preponderance of the evidence (that is the legal standard you will face) that this discrepancy in pay is age-based, then you would have a valid claim.
An individual who believes he or she has been the subject of unlawful discrimination and wishes to file a lawsuit must first file a formal complaint of discrimination with the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) or California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Either the EEOC or the DFEH will issue an authorization to sue after they investigate the claim.
For information on how to bring a claim through California's DFEH, visit this link: http://www.dfeh.ca.gov/Complaints.htm
For information on how to bring a claim through the EEOC, visit this link: http://www.eeoc.gov/employees/charge.cfm
I sincerely hope that this information helps you and I wish you the best.
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Finally, please bear in mind that none of the above constitutes legal advice nor is any attorney client relationship created between us.
Thank you and very kindest regards.