First, it’s difficult for an individual employee to use the NLRA as a shield because its purpose was related to unionization. Even if workers collectively take action, and win, the remedies offered by the law aren’t great. And because it’s aimed at protecting groups of workers at the bottom of the pyramid, it doesn’t cover anyone in a managerial role who feels she is being shafted by her employer. (Or people who work for airlines, or “independent contractors”–a.k.a. freelancers.)
“The NRLA only applies to ‘non-supervisory employees’ and it’s not very user-friendly,” says Ariane Hegewisch, a pay secrecy expert at the Institute for Women’s Policy Research. “You can’t just walk into your local [fair pay office] to claim discrimination, it doesn’t cover everybody and it doesn’t have very good remedies.”
Hegewisch says the best strategy for ordinary workers to combat the gender pay gap is to speak with colleagues about the topic and align with those who feel similarly. It’s also a good idea to open up a dialogue with supervisors by asking where your pay stands, broadly, compared with other workers, she said.