Only seven years after the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was written into law by Barack Obama, an act named for the woman who wouldn’t take pay discrimination lying down, a junior version of the fair-pay queen has risen in Kansas City, Kansas. A teen, a hero, a pay-discrimination advocate before even heading off to college.
When 17-year-old Jensen Walcott was hired at a pizza spot in her local outlet mall, she was excited to hear that she would be joining her friend Jake Reed on the job, who had been hired on the exact same day. When she and Reed discussed their roles, however, she discovered that Reed had been hired at $8.25 an hour, while Walcott had been hired at $8 an hour. Considering the fact that the pair had the same work experience and are the same age and were hired for the same role, this seemed like a clear case of pay discrimination. So Walcott did something about it.
The teen called her new manager to ask why it would be that Reed was given a quarter more than she was. Her manager put her on hold and came back to say that she had been fired because “discussing wages is against policy.” Reed was given the same treatment. But both teens assert that this policy was never talked about with them before being hired, and it is not illegal to discuss wages. Walcott could technically take legal action in this case, but all she’s interested in is some answers.
The teens: They’re doing okay!