Equal Pay for Men and Women
Aside from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act, in 1963 to adress pay disparity between men and women for equal work done. However, the Supreme Court vastly limited the ability for people to bring claims of discrimination in the case Ledbetter v. Goodyear. In 2009, Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act which Former President Barack Obama signed into law, fixing the issues caused by the Supreme Court decision. The Equal Pay Act requires employers to pay men and women the same rate for the same work.
To which employers does the law apply?
The Equal Pay Act (EPA) is a part of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), which is the same law that governs things like minium wage and overtime pay. Technically, the FLSA applies to employers engaged in interstate commerce, which in today's modern age, means nearly every employer.
What is equal work?
The law simply defines "equal work" as work that requires comparable skills, efforts, responsibilities, and work environments.
What is considered pay under the act?
Pay does not just mean what an individual takes home at the end of the day; pay means an indivals total compensation. For example, pay includes:
- All wages;
- Profit sharing;
- Expense accounts;
- Use of company car;
- Insurance - medical and life;
- Bonus plans; and
Failure to compensate men and women the same for the same work can violate the EPA / Lilly Ledbetter Act.
What obligation does the employer have?
An employer must see that men and women who perform the same work receive the same compensation. However, an employer may not lower the pay of higher-compensated employees to rectify the situation.
Additionally, an employer may not retaliate against an employee who makes a complaint.
What liability does the employer have for a violation?
An employer is liable to make up the difference in compensation, including wages, and if applicable overtime. An employer may also be liable for liquidated damages, meaning two-times the amount of compensation the individual lost because of the illegal unequal pay.
Contact me, a Texas Equal Pay attorney
If you think your employer has subjected you to pay discrimination based on sex, contact me to schedule a consultation. Like many employment laws, action must be taken quickly to preserve your claims.