Thursday, January 24, 2013

EEO Laws - Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)

I hope that you are having a great morning.  Some time ago, it was not unheard of for a woman to be paid less for doing the same job as a man.  This may even continue in some places today.  This is illegal and brings us to the subject of my next post.  As always, I would love to hear your own experiences or opinions on the matter.  Please add to the discussion in the comments section below.

EEO Laws - Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)

Today I would like to continue with our dialogue on EEO Laws.  We will now touch on the topic of the Equal Pay Act of 1963.  Signed into law by President John F. Kennedy, the law prohibits compensation discrimination on the basis of sex.  It effectively provides that a woman should be paid equally and fairly for producing the same work as if a man were in the same position. 

The act provides that the following are the reasons why the pay disparity was abolished:
-- Lowers wages and living standards
-- Prevents maximum productivity of workforce
-- Causes disputes in the workplace over pay gaps
-- Burdens commerce 
-- Unfair competition

Same Job?

There are a series of qualifications which may be tested to see if a job one employee is similar enough that they ought to be getting paid the same as another.  In the case of the EPA, specifically between a job a female is doing versus a male counterpart.  The qualifications looked at include Skill, Responsibility, Effort, Working Conditions, Establishment.  For Skill, consider what knowledge and aptitude is needed for a job; is it the same for both?  For Responsibility, you will want to look at the accountability one has in a job, as well as their ability to delegate work.  Effort looks at the physical and mental exertion needed to complete a job.  For Working Conditions, consider the risks and environmental situations that both employees are working in.  Lastly, consider where the work takes place, also known as the Establishment.  Are they both working in the same location?  If you can answer yes to these questions, you ought to consider the jobs equal and they should be receiving the same pay.

When correcting unequal pay, you must be careful to never lower the wages of the person currently receiving more money.  You are only allowed to raise up the person that was making less.

Lawsuits and Filing

Human Resources representatives and managers will want to take seriously any claims a worker makes on the basis of compensation and gender disparity.  Employees that feel that they are receiving less money for producing the same work as a member of the opposite sex may choose to file a lawsuit.  Under the EPA, employees can take their employer directly to court without first filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  All forms of compensation are covered under the EPA including stock options, bonus plans, reimbursement of travel expenses, and benefits.  The EPA does not have any time limit for filing a suit, but if an employee is also filing a claim under Title VII, they will likely follow that 180 day deadline per the EEOC.

And remember all of you Human Resources professionals:  Be Human... Be a Resource...  Be a Resource for Humans.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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