Proving that gender discrimination motivates unequal pay practices is often a challenge for plaintiffs in Colorado. Multiple lawsuits against major companies have previously failed to gain approval as class actions. However, a state court judge on the West Coast recently certified a lawsuit brought by three women against Oracle Corp. as a class action.

Due to the class-action certification, more than 4,000 women can now potentially hold the technology company accountable for allegedly paying men more than them for similar work. The three women who started the legal action had originally worked at PeopleSoft Corp., which Oracle bought in 2005. They asserted that Oracle consistently paid women lower salaries than their male colleagues who possessed similar skills and responsibilities.

Lawyers representing Oracle countered the claim by explaining that the men and women with the same job codes may not necessarily be engaged in the same type of projects. However, the lawsuit noted that the corporation’s headquarters made pay decisions for the entire company.

The Oracle legal team tried to get a study that the plaintiffs commissioned from a university economics professor tossed out as evidence. But the judge ordered that it remain under consideration. The study found that Oracle paid its female employees 13% less than male employees.

Discriminatory pay practices can cost victims of discrimination significant amounts over the course of a career. A person with complaints about improper pay or treatment may discuss the problem with an employment law attorney. A lawyer might provide an opinion about the strength of the evidence and how to proceed with holding an employer accountable. Legal representation may also offer a viable way to confront an employer during private discussions or in court.