When Jensen Walcott and her good friend, Jake Reed, both got hired at Pizza Studio in Kansas City, Kansas, on the same day, the 17-year-olds were initially excited. Then Reed mentioned to Walcott that he'd be making $8.25 per hour. Walcott would only be making $8 per hour, even though she was hired for the same position and had the same degree of experience. Thinking there must have been a mix-up, she called her boss just an hour after being hired to ask about the wage discrepancy—and was promptly fired, she tells Fox 4 KC. Jensen says the manager told her it's against company policy to discuss wages with co-workers, but both teens say that policy was never mentioned to them before the phone call. Reed was also fired.
"At face value it appears, that the young lady was terminated because she complained about unequal wages. That's illegal," an attorney tells the station, adding that, per the National Labor Relations Board, it is perfectly fine for colleagues to discuss wages. He thinks Jensen may have a legal claim on her hands, but for now, Jensen just wants to bring some attention to what happened. Fox 4's story came out last Friday, and the station noted that when it reached out to a corporate rep for Pizza Studio, he promised to investigate but never called the station back. Fox 4 hasn't offered any updates since then, but the story got wide pickup this week, with many outlets decrying the fact that Walcott was apparently terminated for requesting to be paid as much as a male counterpart. (Read more wage gap stories.)