If not, you can file a complaint with your state or local federal labor agency or get help from a union if you're a member. Valerie Bolden-Barrett is a writer, editor and communication consultant specializing in best business practices, public policy, personal finance and career development. When women earn less money than men, they are forced to spend a greater proportion of their salaries to pay off their loans. Also, if your employer pays you by the hour and you work over 40 hours in any given week, your employer must pay you 1.5 times your base wage for every additional hour you work. We have two employees who have the same job title, job description and functions. Coworkers who have been on the job longer than you have seniority. Pay discrimination also occurs when a difference in pay has an unlawful basis such as race or sex. The first law, Title VII, prohibits any workplace discrimination based on sex, race, or religion. You are entitled to the same pay as anyone doing the same or broadly similar job, or a job of equal value, regardless of gender. We pay one a flat salary ($120,000). For example, if the wage differential between a man and woman who do the same job is $20,000 per year, the woman could receive: To prove an Equal Pay Act violation, a plaintiff must show that a man and woman earn different wages for substantially similar work. Liquidated damages are additional damages that a plaintiff can recover if an employer “willfully” violated the Equal Pay Act (EPA). Q. Unequal compensation can be justified only if the employer shows that the pay differential is attributable to a fair seniority, merit or incentive system, or a factor other than sex. If you’re bringing an equal pay lawsuit, there are three distinct advantages in suing under the Equal Pay Act, rather than Title VII. It’s illegal for an employer to pay women a different amount than their male co-workers — if they are working the same job and have the same level of experience and skill. They must prove that the difference in pay is due to factors other than gender. In a Title VII lawsuit, you would bear the burden to rebut your employer’s alternate explanations. Congress passed the EPA in 1963, mostly to ensure that women earn the same pay rates as men doing similar work. States set their own minimum wages and if your state's is higher than the Fed's, your employer must pay the higher rate. Back pay is essentially compensatory damages.

Committed to advancing opportunities for women lawyers, Ms. De Bartolomeo is the Chair of the Women’s Trial Lawyer Caucus of the American Association of Justice, overseeing the caucus’s work in leadership training, law student scholarship, membership and political outreach, and other pro-civil justice functions. The Labor Department's Wage and Hour Division handles complaints under the FLSA. As a general rule, it’s a good idea to strive for consistency in your treatment of similarly situated employees. Pay or compensation discrimination occurs when employees performing similar work do not receive similar pay. There are two main federal laws that make it illegal to pay women less simply based on their gender. The claim may languish in front of the EEOC or settle for less than it otherwise would. This proposed legislation would help secure equal pay for equal work for all Americans. We pay the other a base salary plus a fixed rate for hours that are billable to the customer ($70,000, plus $20 for every billable hour). She is court-appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in the Yaz & Yazmin birth control litigation, and represents women across the country who suffered serious complications after receiving transvaginal mesh implants. A violation is willful if either: (a) the employer knew its compensation structure violated the EPA, or (b) the employer acted with reckless disregard of its obligations under the EPA. This difference in pay could be based on each employee’s levels of skill and experience.

Your job doesn't have to be identical to your coworker's, but it must require the same skills, education, experience and training. A claim under the Equal Pay Act must generally be brought within 3 years. Copyright © 2020 Business Management Daily. A successful plaintiff can collect back pay for the full statute of limitations period, which is 2-3 years, depending on the circumstances. The FLSA doesn't set wages or decide whether rates are unfair between you and your coworkers, but it does bar your employer from paying you below a certain amount or not paying overtime if you qualify. The amount of effort is often a matter of how many hours the job requires, or how much physical, mental, or emotional exertion it involves. Our law firm fights to get women equal pay. An example is a salesperson who not only meets with clients but also may offer buyers pay options. Employees who believe they're being paid less than other workers doing similar work because of gender, race, ethnicity, age, religion or disability can file a claim with the EEOC. Title VII claims must be first be brought to a federal agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), before suing in court.

The issue of gender pay inequality has far reaching consequences for women and their families, beyond just the paycheck and fundamental principles of fairness.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. Under this law, which went into effect on January 1, 2016, employees in California are no longer required to show they were paid less than a member of the opposite sex for “equal” work in the same establishment – they can now make an initial case based on colleagues doing “substantially similar” work, regardless of location. Under the federal Equal Pay Act, an employee may be entitled to both back pay and liquidated damages. And pay may differ based on geographic location because the cost of living is higher in certain areas of the country. If you don’t place the employees on the same compensation program, at least collect the data to show that the disparate treatment is justified for nondiscriminatory business purposes. You may be entitled to a raise and back-wages. A. Some of these recent changes promoting equal pay include: The EEOC, in partnership with the Department of Labor, is publishing a proposal to annually collect summary pay data by gender, race, and ethnicity from businesses with 100 or more employees. In contrast, a claim under Title VII must be brought forward in as little as 180 days or the claim may be time-barred.

The gender pay gap grows with age, and differences among older workers are considerably larger than gaps among younger workers. The Equal Pay Act doesn't allow your employer to pay you less than a coworker doing a similar job. Instantly access free expert advice, management strategies and real-life examples of workplace This expansion of compensation statistics will help identify employers who may be contributing to the wage gap by paying women less than men for the same type of work without a legitimate business reason for doing so, or by steering women into lower paying positions. The law covers jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility and are performed under similar working conditions. Women typically earn about 90 percent of what men are paid until they hit 35. Prior to joining Gibbs Law Group LLP, Mr. Mura was senior litigation counsel at the Center for Constitutional Litigation PC, where he represented plaintiffs in high-stakes appeals and complex litigation in state supreme courts and federal appellate courts. Congress passed the EPA in 1963, mostly to ensure that women earn the same pay rates as men doing similar work. In contract, in an Equal Pay Act lawsuit, the employer bears the burden of proof. She is a former senior editor of national business publications covering management and finance, employment law, human resources, career development, and workplace issues and trends. Pay discrimination based on an employee's membership in a protected category like race, disability, or sex, is prohibited by anti-discrimination laws. 7600A Leesburg Pike, West Building, Suite 300, Falls Church, VA 22043.

Your employer can use any of these reasons for paying you less than coworkers doing the same job, although some courts have ruled against employers making these claims.

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