Equal Pay Act

The Equal Pay Act requires employers to pay women the same as men for doing substantially the same work.

The federal Equal Pay Act prohibits wage discrimination between men and women in the same establishment who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort, and responsibility under similar working conditions. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. The law, in short, requires employers to pay women equal pay to men for substantially equal work.

The EPA has four main exceptions, that is, situations in which an employer might pay a woman less than a man without violating the law. These exceptions are when the difference in pay actually results from a seniority system; a merit system; an incentive system, which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or any other factor other than sex.

It is not enough that a higher-paid male in the same job happens to be more senior than you, or have higher performance ratings than you, or differ from you in some way unrelated to sex. To escape the EPA’s equal pay requirement, your employer must be able to show that its decision to pay the male employee more than you was in fact the result of a factor other than sex.

Here are some examples that might constitute violations of the EPA:

  • Your employer pays you less than a male colleague who does substantially the same work, even though you might have different job titles;
  • Your employer pays you less than a male colleague who does substantially the same work, even though you might have different job titles;
  • Your employer hires a male to do essentially the same job as you, and the male was able to negotiate a higher salary than you.

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If you believe you have been paid less than a male colleague for doing the same work, contact attorney Tim Coffield to discuss a possible legal claim.

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