By now, responsible employers know they can’t pay employees differently based solely on gender. Under federal law, employers must follow the Equal Pay Act as well as Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which broadly prohibits discrimination based on sex.
Historically, an employee couldn’t succeed in a claim under the Equal Pay Act unless she could show “equal work” to prove her pay-bias claims. In other words, her claim would fail unless she could prove the more-highly-paid male performed the exact same job as she did.
This week, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals which creates binding law here in New York decided a case in which a female employee claimed she had been:
- paid less because of her gender,
- retaliated against because she raised concerns about the difference in compensation, and
- fired because she was pregnant.
The trial court had dismissed her pay disparity claims because she couldn’t prove her job was similar enough to her male coworkers. But the appellate court reversed and permitted her to litigate her pay equity claims, concluding that “a Title VII plaintiff need not satisfy the Equal Pay Act’s unequal pay for work standard.”
This decision brings federal law in line with New York law regarding pay equity.
If you have questions about your company’s employment practices and how to protect against claims, contact us. The attorneys at The Coppola Firm would be glad to assist.