The Equal Pay Act prohibits paying workers differently based on their sex. The EPA has powerful tools for an employee, including allowing the worker to potentially recover double the amount of the pay difference plus his or her attorney’s fees.
Imagine this: Two employees start working for a company at the same time. They both have similar experience, abilities, and job responsibilities. Despite this, they are paid at different rates. The only basis for the difference? One employee is a man, the other a woman.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (“EPA”) sought to correct these abuses by amending the Fair Labor Standards Act to include protections for employees facing sex-based wage discrimination. The EPA prohibits sex-based wage discrimination between men and women performing substantially similar jobs. This is true even when employees are given technically different job titles or classifications.
The Equal Pay Act provides employees facing pay discrimination with some powerful tools to address the issue. For example, employees who successfully bring an Equal Pay Act claim can recover not only the difference in wages but an equal amount in “liquidated damages.” The EPA also allows you to recover your attorney’s fees, which helps make it possible to get an experienced workplace discrimination lawyer to handle your case on a contingency fee basis.
Bosses are not allowed to punish or retaliate against a worker for bringing a sex-based discrimination claim. The EPA also prevents employers from lowering the wages of employees in order to equalize wage rates.
In 2009, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act strengthened the EPA by removing procedural hurdles and making it easier for workers to seek justice in court for wage violations. Now, each paycheck that contains discriminatory compensation counts as a new and separate wage violation regardless of when the discrimination first began.
The EPA protects individuals of both sexes. Employers simply should not be paying workers differently because the worker is a man or woman.
Even so, studies show that employers in certain industries still pay men and women differently. For example, in the Construction, Insurance, and Tech industries, employers tend to pay men more than women for the same jobs. Alternatively, in the Education, Social Services, and Occupational Therapy industries, employers tend to pay women more than men.
Employees facing sex-based wage discrimination are empowered with legal tools to address the situation. On one hand, this is great because there are a number of laws and procedural tools to use. On the other hand, it adds complexity.
For example, unlike some other violations of employees’ rights, victims of EPA violations are not required to file a Charge of Discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission prior to going to court. This gives employees more flexibility in determining the best way to recover their illegally withheld pay.
In addition to the rights guaranteed to employees Under the EPA, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act provides additional protections against sex-based wage discrimination. Ohio has incorporated similar protections in Section 411.17 of the Ohio Revised Code.
If your employer hasn’t been paying you for the work you do and the experience you have simply because you aren’t a man, you should call us today. Employees often don’t know what to do when faced with a wage discrimination issue. But you aren’t powerless. The attorneys at Biller & Kimble, LLC can help you find a solution and resolve your issue.
It pays to have an experienced employment law attorney to review your situation and chart the best course. Our law firm can help you with pay discrimination and Equal Pay Act claims. Contact us today for a free consultation about your situation: (513) 202-0710.