Overview: Under the Equal Pay Act (EPA) as well as state and local fair pay acts, men and women are required to receive equal pay for equal work. Generally, the jobs do not have to be identical, but need to be substantially equal in terms of skill, effort and job responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions. The term pay pertains to not just salary, but also overtime, bonuses, vacation and holiday pay, stock options, life insurance and all other benefits and compensation of any kind paid to employees. Employers can defend a claim of wage discrimination under a seniority system, merit system, a system measuring earnings by quality or quantity of production or if wages were set based on a factor other than sex. Employers also should know that Title VII further prohibits wage discrimination.
Trends: In 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was signed into law. It provides that the time an individual has to file a wage discrimination lawsuit begins each time the individual receives a paycheck, therefore allowing aggrieved individuals more time in which to file a lawsuit. This law was passed was in response to the US Supreme Court ruling in Lilly Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire, 550 U.S. 618 (2007) which held that the time an individual has to file an equal pay lawsuit begins on the date the employer made the initial discriminatory compensation decision, not the date of the most recent paycheck. Employers also need to understand that the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act does not just apply to wage discrimination cases based on sex, but also wage discrimination based on race, age, color, national origin, and religion under Title VII as well as age under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Employers also should be aware that the Paycheck Fairness Act was introduced in the US Congress, but failed to advance. The proposed law would provide individuals with increased damages under the EPA and include potentially unlimited back pay and punitive damage awards. It would put the burden on the employer to prove that a disparity in wages was based on a bona fide factor other than sex such as education, training, or experience, and that the other factor is job-related and consistent with business necessity. It would also make it easier to bring a class action lawsuit under the EPA and prohibit retaliation against employees for filing a claim of wage discrimination
Author: Beth P. Zoller, JD, Legal Editor
Vermont recently enacted a law amending the Vermont Fair Employment Practice Law and expanding existing equal pay and discrimination laws to provide greater protection to employees. 2013 Bill Text VT H.B. 99; 2013 Bill Text VT S.B. 57.
A sales representative has filed a class action lawsuit against her employer, Merck & Co., seeking $100 million in damages for discrimination against female employees with respect to compensation and promotion opportunities.
XpertHR now includes a new How To on Preventing Wage Discrimination and Ensuring Equal Pay. This How To addresses how employers can avoid costly wage discrimination lawsuits and ensure equal pay for equal work.
All employers should be aware of their obligation to make certain that their employees are paid fair and equal wages to avoid lawsuits brought under the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and other laws. This How To looks to assist employers who wish to avoid costly wage discrimination lawsuits and ensure equal pay for equal work.
As mandated by the Georgia Department of Labor, all employers must post the Georgia Equal Pay for Equal Work Act poster.
Governor Susana Martinez signed the Fair Pay for Women Act, which prohibits wage discrimination based on an employee's sex. The Act also protects from retaliation those employees who assert any claims or rights under the law, or who assist another person in doing so.
The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) has adopted new policies and procedures that will make it easier for its compliance officers to uncover pay discrimination among federal contractors.
XpertHR's Transportation Resource Center for HR: Discrimination and Harassment helps transportation industry employers handle their most vexing employment issues by bringing relevant resources together in one place for easy access.
In a year in which equal pay looks to be hot issue, the Fair Pay Act (S. 168, H.R. 438) was reintroduced in Congress in both the House and the Senate by Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA) respectively.
On January 28, 2013, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released fiscal year 2012 statistics on employment discrimination charges filed with the agency. Retaliation (37,836) was the most frequently filed claim, followed by race discrimination (33,512) and sex discrimination (30,356), which includes sexual harassment and pregnancy discrimination. Retaliation charges remain a top concern for employers and have since 2010, accounting for 38.1% of all charges in 2012.
HR Guidance on developing policies and practices to eliminate pay discrimination.
Sorry, this feature is not yet available on the preview site