The Equal Pay Act of 1963 specifically prohibits discrimination in compensation on the basis of sex. However, the number of equal pay claims is routinely lower than those made on the basis of any other characteristic like race, religion or national origin. If you believe that you are receiving less compensation than those of the opposite gender, you may be able to file a claim to right that wrong.
Equal Pay For Equal Work
An equal pay claim can be filed if you meet the burden of proof under the relevant law—that is, if you can establish certain facts to a court’s satisfaction. Generally, you must establish that you are being compensated less than a worker of the opposite sex who is doing substantially equal work. “Equal work” can sometimes be a subjective term, but the EPA sets out specifics that a claimant has to meet before a claim can progress. “Equal work” has to include:
- Equal skill. Training, on-the-job experience, and any academic qualifications, among other factors, must be comparable.
- Equal effort. This one can be hard to assess, but it must be shown that a roughly equal expenditure of physical or mental effort exist between you and the worker who is paid more.
- Equal responsibility, both on the job itself and over other workers, if applicable. Whether in a leadership role or tasked with other objectives, you and the higher-paid employee must handle similar amounts of responsibility.
- Comparable working conditions.
It is worth noting that in amidst all the criteria to define ‘equal work,’ job title is absent.
Not Only For Women
It is a common misconception that the EPA only covers women seeking redress for being paid less than men. This is not accurate. Men and non-binary individuals are protected by the EPA as well. If they can meet the criteria to establish they are receiving less compensation for equal work, their claims may be granted. In addition, ‘compensation’ does not only refer to paychecks. The category includes benefits like pensions, vacation time, and bonuses.
It is also worth mentioning that while the Equal Pay Act predates the Civil Rights Act of 1964, it is possible to file multiple claims (under each act) if the facts warrant doing so. The requirements to establish discrimination or discriminatory intent differ between the laws, so depending on the facts of your situation, you may have a better chance to recover either under the EPA or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Get Legal Help Today
Employers should pay all their workers what they are worth. If you suspect your employer is undervaluing your work, it is worth talking to a South Carolina employment discrimination attorney who can help you get what you deserve. Attorney A. Christopher Potts has experience in helping employees fight against discrimination, and is happy to assist you. Contact Hitchcock & Potts today.