Workplace Rights

Weekly (3/14/22)

Topic of the Week  Getting to Know Your Rights Against Compensation Discrimination

Pay or compensation discrimination occurs when employees performing similar work do not receive similar pay. Pay discrimination also occurs when a difference in pay has an unlawful basis such as race or sex. Pay discrimination based on an employee's membership in a protected category like race, disability, or sex, is prohibited by anti-discrimination laws. Relevant laws include Title VII, the ADA and ADEA, state anti-discrimination laws, and the Equal Pay Act which specifically addresses pay discrimination based on sex.

Can an employer pay me less because I'm a woman? Can I be paid less because I'm a man?

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) and Title VII make it illegal to discriminate based on sex in the payment of wages or benefits. A more detailed explanation of the protections provided under the law can be found in the answers to question 1 and 2.

Note that:

  • Employers may not reduce wages of either sex to equalize pay between men and women.
  • A violation of the EPA may occur where a different wage is or was paid to a person who worked in the same job before or after an employee of the opposite sex.

While there are some differences between Title VII and the Equal Pay Act, these federal laws are enforced by the same administrative agency, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

 Is it illegal to give different benefits to male and female employees?

Employers are not allowed to condition benefits available to employees and their spouses and families on whether the employee is the “head of the household” or “principal wage earner” in the family unit, since that status bears no relationship to job performance and discriminatorily affects the rights of female employees.

An employer cannot make benefits available:

  • for the wives and families of male employees where the same benefits are not made available for the husbands and families of female employees;
  • for the wives of male employees which are not made available for female employees; or
  • for the husbands of female employees which are not made available for male employees.

It is also against the law for an employer to have a pension or retirement plan which establishes different optional or compulsory retirement ages based on sex, or which differentiates in benefits based on sex.

Thought of the Week

"More people are recognizing that not only is equal pay a matter of basic fairness, it is also good for families and businesses. According to the Institute for Women's Policy Research, closing the pay gap would cut the poverty rate for working women in half and lift more than 2.5 million children out of poverty."

–Charlotte A. Burrows | EEOC Chair

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

    List of the Week

    from Equal Pay Day

    For every $1 made by the average white man, here's what women of different backgrounds make:

    • 87 Cents - LGBTQ+ Women
    • 85 Cents - AAPI Women
    • 79 Cents - White Women
    • 68 Cents - Women With Disabilities
    • 64 Cents - Black Women
    • 60 Cents - Native Women
    • 57 Cents - Hispanic or Latin Women

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