“Unequal pay isn’t rare – it’s common and prevalent in all job sectors”

Sandy Restrepo, a local attorney, testifies to the Washington State House Labor Committee in favor of the Equal Pay Opportunity Act (HB 1646), February 2, 2015:

Hello my name is Sandy Restrepo and I’m here today to testify in support of HB 1646, the Equal Pay Opportunity Act.

As a mother, Latina and now lawyer, I have endured many hardships. As mentioned earlier, typically as a Latina I make 67 cents to every dollar a white man makes. I’m the first in my family to graduate college and first to pursue graduate degree. Throughout my studies, I have supported myself with low-paying jobs.

Between undergrad and law school, I accepted a position at a prestigious non-profit. Months into my new job, I learned that an equally qualified man was offered 20 percent more in salary than I was offered. I expected an organization that stood for justice would treat me fairly but unfortunately that was not the case. Unequal pay isn’t rare, it’s common and prevalent in all job sectors.

As an immigration attorney, I see all too often my clients earn significantly less because they are immigrants, women and/or don’t know their rights.

That’s why we need this legislation: to make sure this systemic injustice is eradicated.

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