Equal Pay Rights

The law mandates that women and men be given equal pay for equal work. Notwithstanding legal protections against pay discrimination, American women who work full-time, year-round are paid only 78 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts. That wage gap is even more significant for women of color, where African American women earn only 64 cents and Latina women earn only 55 cents for each dollar earned by their male counterparts. The Equal Pay Act (EPA) prohibits pay discrimination on the basis of gender, requiring employers to pay similarly situated employees the same wage regardless of whether the employee is a male or female. The EPA covers all payments made to or on behalf of employees in return for employment, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, allowances, reimbursements, expenses, and benefits. The EPA protects both men and women, and bars retaliation against employees for asserting their rights under the statute. Several other laws also protect against discrimination in compensation on the basis of other protected categories, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, along with their state and local counterparts in the District of Columbia and Maryland.

Correia & Puth, PLLC has the experience to fight employers who have shortchanged an employee because of an illegal bias. Motivated by our commitment to workplace fairness, we have long advocated against stereotypes in the workplace and for employee protections workers under the EPA, Title VII, the ADA, ADEA, and other laws. We negotiate resolutions with employers, and file complaints in federal or state courts, or with government agencies, where appropriate. We will help you identify your rights and consider your options for improving your working conditions or remedying the discrimination you experienced.

“The lawyers of Correia & Puth, PLLC are committed to fighting employers that shortchange our clients and their families. We are staunch advocates against pay discrimination and retaliation in the workplace, and believe all employees should be given fair wages for the work they complete, regardless of gender and other protected characteristics.”

The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women be given equal pay for equal work when working for the same employer. This means that an employer cannot pay a man more money than a woman who is performing the same job. The jobs need not be identical, but in order for an employee to have a valid claim, the jobs must be substantially equal. The law focuses on job content, not job titles, to determine whether jobs are substantially equal. The EPA provides that employers may not pay unequal wages to men and women who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions within the same establishment.

In 2009 Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. In that case, the Court held that employees could not sue for pay discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if their employer’s original discriminatory pay decision occurred more than 180 days before they initiated a claim, even when the employee continued to receive paychecks that have been discriminatorily reduced based on her sex. The plaintiff in that case, Lilly Ledbetter, was not able to bring a lawsuit for discrimination despite receiving discriminatory paychecks for decades from her employer. In reaction, Congress passed the Lilly Ledbetter Act to make clear that each discriminatory paycheck, and not just an employer’s original decision to engage in pay discrimination, resets the period of time during which a worker may file a claim of pay discrimination on the basis of sex, race, national origin, age, religion, and disability. This law helps to ensure that individuals subjected to unlawful pay discrimination are able to effectively assert their rights under the federal anti-discrimination laws.

Like the EPA, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act not only prohibits pay discrimination on the basis of gender, but basis of race, color, religion, and national origin. To learn more about race discrimination, visit our page here, and to learn more about sex discrimination, visit our page here. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits pay discrimination on the basis of a disability (visit here), and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act prohibits pay discrimination on the basis of age (here).

Employers are also prohibited from retaliating against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on compensation or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding or litigation under Title VII, ADEA, ADA or the EPA.

Under the EPA, an aggrieved employee is able to recover backpay, attorney’s fees, and costs associate with litigation. In cases where the sex-based pay discrimination is intentional or willful, a plaintiff may recover liquidated damages. While no punitive or compensatory damages are available under the EPA, punitive and compensatory damages are available under Title VII, ADA, and ADEA.

Whether you are currently suffering pay discrimination or have been subjected to it in the past, the lawyers of Correia & Puth, PLLC can help you seek justice and remedy your violated rights. We work zealously to represent clients to seek a fair and just resolution with employers. Please contact us by e-mail or call us at 202-602-6500 now.

 

 

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