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April 09, 2009

Whole New Meaning: Please help a reader?

April 9. Day 283.

My project and this blog have just taken on a whole new meaning. I got an email yesterday from a woman who has been working for her employer for several years. She just discovered that despite a promotion and stellar reviews, she is earning less than a newly hired male intern with the same job functions. She found The Daily Asker on Google and asked for my advice.


Here I am asking for $5 off of a pair of shoes, and this woman got the kind of shock that inspired me in the first place.

Reminds me what's really at stake here.

Here's what I'm going to write back: that I'm not qualified to give legal counsel, but I'll refer her to a bunch of online resources. And that if she needs moral support or encouragement about whether to pursue this, even if it means rocking the boat, I'm happy to stand behind her and help in any way I can.

However, I would also love to put her in contact with an employment attorney or HR specialist.

So... here's my first question for the day:

If you are a lawyer who would be available to answer her questions for 10-15 minutes for free, could you please get in touch with me? I'm thedailyasker [at] gmail [dot] com. I can pass along her email, which has more details. Alternately, if you know any people who might be interested in helping -- friends who went to law school, your brother the appellate court clerk, your totally cool professor, your daughter who just passed the bar, your ex-boyfriend the Supreme Court Chief Justice -- can you please forward them this page? Put it up on Facebook? Get the word out?

This situation makes me realize the grander potential of this blog, particularly as I set the stage for Round 2 (launch: July 1, 2009!!). I'd like to add a feature where women who suspect or know of pay discrimination can get in touch with a lawyer and ask for free initial advice. (Might she have a case? Should she file an informal complaint? Stuff like that.)

This brings me to a second question: If you or anyone you know would be willing to provide occasional free consult, which could perhaps introduce you to a possible client and help someone in need, I'd love to turn this page into such a resource.

Please email me, and we can work out the details so that these queries are not intrusive to you. I can screen them, and distribute them among all particiants, so that each participating lawyer only gets a query one in a rare while.

What do you think?

Gained: Nothing yet, but hoping to help a woman correct her disturbing situation.
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