Analyzing the Equal Pay Act

On behalf of Sullivan Law Group APC posted in workplace discrimination on Friday, March 23, 2018.

The efforts to end workplace discrimination are not solely aimed at helping people to get their feet in the door of companies in San Diego. Simply because one has been hired to a job does not mean that the opportunities that an employer can still discriminate against him and her have ceased. His or her treatment while on the job could also be classified as discriminatory. Salary discrepancies are one area where this is still evident. Fortunately, those whose work has been historically undervalued (at least in terms of their pay) are supported by the Equal Pay Act. 

This federal law was enacted in 1963 to stop employers from rewarding those of a certain race or gender with larger salaries than their counterparts. Specifically, the EPA requires that all of those performing a job that requires equal skill, effort and responsibility (and who are working in similar conditions) to be paid equally. Some may take that to mean that those doing the same job for the same company must be paid the exact same. That, however, is not the case. According to the American Association of University Women, employers may establish different pay scales based on factors such as seniority, merit and production. 

Could it be possible for employers to get around this law by further compensating certain demographic groups perceived to be favored indirectly (e.g., through benefit packages)? Per the U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission, the answer to that question is no. It states that the EPA’s definition of «pay» goes beyond salary to include benefits such as: 

  • Overtime pay 
  • Bonuses
  • Insurance coverage
  • Vacation and holiday pay
  • Stock options and profit sharing plans
  • Per diem

Violations of the EPA can be reported directly to one’s local court.