Anti-discrimination laws require employers to hire qualified employees, regardless of their sex. But in West Virginia, women earn on average about 70 cents for every dollar paid to men. Owner of the 8th Street Confectionery in Fairmont, Michael Riggi, said he employs four women and three men. In general, the men make about a dollar more than the women, but not because of their gender.
"Most places pay the $2.13, or whatever it is, plus the adjustment with tips, but we go above and beyond. They're paid $7.25, all of them, and the back help is paid a little more but no tips of course," said Michael Riggi.
Riggi said since the women who work at his restaurant receive tips, their pay in comparison to the men who work there evens out. But that's not the case with every place of business in the state.
Census data shows women get paid less than men in occupations like sales, management, finance, engineering and science. That means on a yearly basis, the median gap between full-time working men and women is close to $12,500.
January 29th marked the four-year anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act, also known as the Paycheck Fairness Act. U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, (D) W.Va. released a statement on Tuesday. Manchin said, "It's past time that we correct this unfairness to make sure that women are paid what they deserve."
Some business owners, like Michael Riggi, don't agree with any pay gaps either. Riggi said, "No, no. Not at all. Like I say, they work just as hard as a man, they're friendlier, and they outnumber me so I can't say anything."