The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits employers from paying unequal pay to women for equal work. A female employee bringing suit under the Equal Pay Act must show that a male employee at the same company is paid a higher “wage” for performing substantially equal work.
The Equal Pay Act prohibits discrimination with respect to wages, which includes base salary, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing and other fringe benefits. The Act does not require that a female employee show that the pay disparity was intentional or based on her gender; she need only show that there is a pay disparity.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in wage rates on the basis of race, color, national origin or religion. In fact, in some circumstances it is easier to prevail in a pay discrimination claim under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 than the Equal Pay Act.
The attorneys of Van Kampen Law, PLLC have experience fighting pay discrimination under the Equal Pay Act and the Civil Rights Act. Joshua Van Kampen has devoted his career to practicing in the areas of employment law and pay discrimination. Your employer will turn to experienced employment law counsel and you should, too. Contact our Charlotte office for a consultation with a lawyer.
Although the Equal Pay Act has been on the books for over forty years, recent studies have shown that women continue to be paid less than men for performing the same work. According to a 2003 study by the U.S. Department of Labor, women make 78% of men’s wages across the board. Most surprising, the wage disparity is greatest among the most highly educated groups.
Employers have developed fairly standard arguments to evade liability. For example, employers routinely try to distinguish the work performed by a female employee and her male counterparts by arguing that the male employees’ jobs require more skill. Employers also try to identify something in the male employee’s background or resume that distinguishes him from the female employee in order to justify his higher wage.
Pay Discrimination and the Statute of Limitations
In Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the Supreme Court held that the statute of limitations for a pay discrimination lawsuit begins to run when the employer initially sets the employee’s rate of pay. That decision prevented many employees from recovering any of the pay that had been discriminatorily withheld from them.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 overturns the Supreme Court’s decision and was signed into law by President Barack Obama. Lilly Ledbetter, the namesake of the Act, discovered near the end of her 19-year career as a supervisor in a tire factory that she had been paid significantly less than her male counterparts. Under the Act, the 180-day statute of limitations period resets with each discriminatory paycheck. This Act is enormously important to pay discrimination plaintiffs because, in many cases, employees may not discover pay disparities until much later.
Take Action to Fight Pay Discrimination
To schedule a confidential appointment to discuss whether you may have a claim under the Equal Pay Act (EPA), the Fair Pay Act, or the Civil Rights Act of 1964, call our office in Charlotte at 704-247-3245 or contact us online today to speak to a Charlotte, North Carolina employment law attorney.