The Secret Society of Money Part 2

On March 29, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., v. Dukes lawsuit which involves potential certification of a class of as many as 1.5 million female employees from 3,400 Wal-Mart stores across the United States.  The lawsuit alleges that Wal-Mart has violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, stating that Wal-Mart discriminates against women in both pay and promotion decisions.  The Court has yet to rule on this case, but the questions posed by the Justices were quite interesting is noting the possible biases of the male judges.

Chief Justice Roberts, for example, asked, “Is it — is it true that Wal-Mart’s pay disparity across the company was less than the national average?” As if that meant Wal-Mart’s pay disparity across the company was okay because it was less than the national average, when in fact by law there shouldn’t a disparity at all. Questions like those posed by Roberts clearly show that gender bias is alive and well—it didn’t take a newspaper headline for me to figure that out, but here are a couple that explain further.

Being passed over for promotion is easy to know about–you applied for a promotion, you didn’t get it and you know who did. A question I have is how did these women know that they were being paid less? Hooray that they did find out, but salary is a one of those Secret Societies of Money items shrouded in secrecy—exactly the way private companies want it. In fact, most companies have rules against discussing  or disclosing your salary with other employees. Usually it says that right in the employee handbook you have to sign off on when you are hired. To find out if the guy who was hired at the same time as you were is being paid more is pretty hard to find out.  

How do you even know what to ask for when you apply for a job? What do you put in the “Desired Salary” blank? Sure, you can look up an approximation on websites like or monster salary ,  but finding the exact title or name of the position is sometimes difficult.

In public jobs at local, state and federal levels, all salary ranges are public knowledge—you can go it look up. Why don’t all companies do that? Why should it be a secret?  I think that’s a great question, don’t you?


About Karen

Karen Karsten, CPCC, CAC, has had several business careers, in government, finance, retail and publishing. Each career was a building block that helped her create the life she has now as a coach, writer and executive director of Rich Chicks and Creative Principle of Think You Can LLC.

Her companies, Think You Can ( and Rich Chicks ( both explore the magic of prosperity and creating clarity about life values. Karen has total faith in the magic of belief. Notice how that works either way: belief of magic, magic of belief. Magic is there—in you, too. Take a moment right now and honor the magic in you.

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