You want your compensation to be based on the value you have as an employee, meaning the job duties you perform, the quality of your work, and your experience in your industry. Factors unrelated to your job shouldn’t determine your pay. However, as many employees know, being paid fairly for the work you do is sometimes harder than it should be. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits pay discrimination based on sex and protects both men and women.
Despite the Equal Pay Act, many women struggle to be paid the same amount as their male counterparts. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women’s full-time wages were 82% of men’s in 2020, with women of color earning even less.
Failing to Provide Equal Pay for Equal Work
The Equal Pay Act (EPA) requires employers to pay their employees equal pay for equal work, regardless of sex. If a female employee’s work is equal to a male employee’s work, they need to be paid equally under the EPA and vice versa. When employees of one sex are paid less than others who do equal work, this could violate the EPA. However, understanding what equal work is can be complicated.
What is Equal Work?
It’s important for employees who believe they aren’t receiving equal pay to understand what equal work means in this context. This can seem like the work employees have to do is exactly the same, which isn’t the case. If an employee’s work isn’t identical to another’s, this shouldn’t necessarily deter them from filing a claim.
Work must be “substantially equal” for employees to be paid equally. Factors that determine whether or not work is substantially equal includes:
- Skill – Factors such as experience, education, and ability the job requires.
- Effort – The physical and mental effort required.
- Responsibility – The level of accountability required.
- Working Conditions – The environment the employees work in and the hazards they’re exposed to.
- Establishment – The employees must be employed by the same physical place of business. This can include employees at different locations who were hired by the same office.
Determining when work is equal can be extremely difficult when discrimination is involved. Some employees may have different duties that others are denied due to their sex, which could affect their pay. Working with a pay discrimination lawyer is essential for showing that an employee is being underpaid for doing equal work.
Providing Fewer Benefits
While it’s obvious that equal pay means employees receiving the same salary, this isn’t the only protection the EPA provides. Employees are also protected from being denied benefits due to their sex. This includes health insurance, bonuses, paid time off, retirement benefits, and more.
Paying Other Employees Less to Make Wages Equal
Some employers may try to lower the pay of the higher-paid employee to make their wages equal. However, this is a violation of the Equal Pay Act. If it’s determined that an employee is being paid less for equal work, the employer must raise their wages to match the other employee.
New York Pay Discrimination Lawyers Who Can Fight for You
If you believe that your employer is violating your employee rights and paying you below what you deserve, it’s time to get legal help. Fighting for what you deserve can be difficult, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. No one should have to work for less than they deserve due to their sex or association with any other protected class. At Brown Kwon & Lam, our pay discrimination lawyers help employees in New York City who experience pay discrimination.
We know that you may have many concerns about your situation. Contact us today if you believe your employer is discriminating against you.