I found this out from my male coworker, who is about to take a week's paid vacation. He was hired a month or two before me and we do the same job. He said we get one week per year per our handbook. My boss knows I never got a handbook because he asked me about the sick days in the handbook and I told him I never got one. He said there was nothing important in it anyway.
I have worked here a year and a half so my coworker is about to take his second week of paid vacation and I have yet to take my first one because my employer won't inform me about it. Is it worth filing a claim on this, and what would I expect to receive? Would I have to hire a lawyer? Is it worth trying to work out with my employer, and what should I expect as compensation for their negligence/apparent gender discrimination?
It's sort of hard to tell. From the way you've described it, it might not be that you don't have the same benefits, but that you weren't aware that you were entitled to the week's vacation because you didn't get the handbook and no one ever told you about it. (You should get a copy of the handbook asap).
First, you should determine from your boss or someone else (HR?) if you are, in fact, entitled to one week of paid vacation a year. If the answer is no, and you & your coworker do the same job but get different benefits, it might support a discrimination claim.
Let's say, though, (as I suspect) the answer is yes, and that you WERE entitled to a paid week, but just didn't know it because you weren't informed. Then you need to determine if the policy is a "use it or lose it" policy (any unused days are lost at the end of the year) or if it accrues. If it's a use it or lose it policy, the question is do you lose the week's paid vacation you otherwise would have used, but lost, because you were never informed that this was part of your benefits. If you could prove that you were never informed of it, you might have a claim to be reimbursed the value. Whether that's worth pursuing though legal channels, though, is another question... depending on things like what a week's pay is worth, the job market in your area, and your overall feelings about the job, an argument could be made for you to pursue reimbursement for the week (if you think you could convince a finder of fact that you were never told about the benefit so it's not fair to make you lose it) OR you might be better off just enjoying the newly discovered benefit and forgetting about the week you lost.
Feel free to contact me if you want. Dan Knauth [email protected] // 212-317-1200. Answers to questions are meant to be general only, are not intended to be legal advice and do not create an attorney-client relationship. Answers to questions are based on NY law, and the laws of other states may create different rights and obligations.
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