What is the Equal Pay Act?
The Equal Pay Act is a federal act passed in 1963 that amends federal labor law to protect employees from discrimination based on sex. This act prohibits employers from paying employees different wages solely on the basis of their sex. Thus, if you are performing similar work to a similar standard as a coworker of the opposite sex, you should not be getting paid less or more than that coworker.
While simple, in theory, determining discrimination of this sort is not always straightforward. There are other considerations to take into account that make clear whether a breach of the Equal Pay Act occurred in any given case.
Important Considerations for an Equal Pay Act Case
The introduction of the Equal Pay Act initially targeted wage disparities between men and women. However, this act protects employees of any sex against pay discrimination based on their sex. The act covers all employees of federal, state, or local governments and most private-sector employees.
What Situations Does the Equal Pay Act Cover?
An important element for proving a breach in the Equal Pay Act involves showing that a pay disparity occurred despite the fact that an employee provided equal work to that of an employee of a different sex.
"Equal work" here does not necessarily translate to identical work. Instead, the law focuses on:
- Skill: Demonstrating equal work requires showing that the employees in question are substantially similar in ability, previous work or related experience, and education or training levels that are all necessary for performing the duties of the job.
- Effort: Equal work also requires showing that there is a substantial similarity between the amount of physical or mental exertion needed to perform a job.
- Responsibility: Equal work may also consist of similar degrees of accountability involved in order to perform the duties associated with one's job.
- Working Conditions: Lastly, you must also demonstrate that working conditions are similar, not only including immediate workplace surroundings but also similar exposure to workplace hazards, if applicable.
- Should I File My Claim with the EEOC or Go to Court?
If you experience wage discrimination based on your sex, you have two options for pursuing legal recourse. You can take your claim to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, or the EEOC, or you can file a lawsuit in civil court. Each of these options may grant unique potential benefits and drawbacks. However, it is best to discuss your case with a lawyer before proceeding with either option.
- What Are the Time Constraints for Filing an Equal Pay Act Case?
Regardless of whether you file a claim with the EEOC or in civil court, your claim will fall under the same time constraints. To make a valid case concerning the Equal Pay Act, you must file your claim within two years of the alleged unlawful compensation practice. If you have reason to believe that this wage violation was intentional, you have three years to file your claim from the time the incident occurred.
Have Questions? Contact Georges-Pierre & Hoogerwoerd, PLLC to Discuss Your Case
If you believe you are experiencing wage discrimination on the basis of your sex, contact the attorneys of Remer, Georges-Pierre & Hoogerwoerd, PLLC to discuss the details of your case. We can help you determine whether your claim is valid in the eyes of the law and how best to pursue your case in the legal system.
Call: (305) 416-5000.