A teenage girl recently got fired from her job for inquiring about equal pay, something totally illegal for her employer to do. According to Cosmopolitan, 17-year-old Jensen Walcott was working for Pizza Studio, located in the Legends outlet mall in Kansas City. She was being paid $8 an hour, higher than Kansas’s $7.25 an hour minimum wage. She was excited to get the job and work with her friend Jake Reed.
However, when Walcott texted Reed about her interview, she discovered that he had been hired for 25 cents more per hour than her—despite having the same amount of experience.
Walcott, thinking this was a simple mistake on her boss’s part, decided to giver her boss a call. But the call didn’t end the way Walcott would have liked—She was fired for discussing wages. Reed was also fired immediately after, in what he described to WDAF as “basically just like a ten second phone call.”
Prior to these short phone calls, Walcott and Reed had never been informed of such a policy. Attorney David White told WDAF News that the National Labor Relations Board feels it is appropriate to discuss wages, so Walcott would be able to start a legal battle if she wanted to. He guessed that because the two are teenagers, the company thought that they wouldn’t speak up about the unequal pay.
While the stakes here might seem low, hiring a woman at lower pay than a man with the same job is just not cool—Especially when you look at the big picture. Institute for Women’s Policy Research claims that woman earn less than men in almost every occupation. Equal pay issues affect women like us every day, so it’s important that we stand up for our rights even if it doesn’t seem like a big deal in the moment. It’s the little things that add up, and fighting smaller battles could lead to big change later on.