Unfortunately there is nothing in your post to suggest that your employer has acted unlawfully in any way. As unfair as it may seem, there is no law that requires employers to pay a fair rate - only a minimum wage.
Employers are allowed to make offers of employment with pay rates that are grossly lower than the market rate, or that were created without any research, or any reference to the employee's prior wage experience. In fact, there are no laws that exist that tell an employer what to pay employees except for certain minimum requirements that do not appear to apply here.
You mention that you are being treated differently because of your age. Unfortunately, the age discrimination laws do not apply to the youth of the employee. They only protect employees of 40 years of age and higher.
If you are not being paid your fair market rate, you need to find new employment.
Good luck to you.
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Your salary may not be at "market rate," but there does not appear to be anything unlawful in what your employer did. Nothing requires your employer to ask about your prior salaries, research comparable salaries, or consider your years of experience in connection with setting your compensation.
I also do not see any actionable discrimination in anything that you describe.
You can certainly ask for a salary re-evaluation, and point out why you believe you should be earning more money -- but there is nothing in the law that requires your employer to conduct that re-evaluation.
In a free market economy in an "at will" state there is nothing to compel your employer as your request.
The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advice" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also avvo.com terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.
Two practical suggestions for you:
1. Have a lawyer do an analysis of your job duties to make sure you are classified correctly as an exempt, salaried employee. If not, you may be entitled to overtime pay.
2. Go to HRthatworks.com and take a look at the article entitled "Why I deserve a raise." The site is designed for HR Professionals but it has really good stuff. I think you can get a 30-day free trial, and the article will give you practical tips for negotiating a raise.
David A. Mallen
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