South Carolina is a state that has primarily adopted federal jurisprudence in the realm of employment law and discrimination. However, one omission in this regard is in dealing with the issue of equal pay. As of this writing, South Carolina is one of only four states that does not have an updated equal pay law on the books. This does not mean, however, that claims of pay discrimination must go unheard.
South Carolina Workforce Statistics
If one examines the South Carolina workforce according to the most recent available data, the picture is fairly clear that inequity persists. The National Partnership for Women and Families reports that as of April 2016, white women in South Carolina make 80 cents for every dollar paid to white men, while women of color make only 57 cents on the dollar. This can lead to significant disparities in take-home pay, with an average gap of $8,272 between male and female earners.
This phenomenon affects single mothers at an even higher rate. Studies from the Pew Research Center show that mothers are either the primary or sole breadwinners in 40 percent of U.S. households but are paid on average only 58 cents on the dollar compared to white men in the United Sates. For many women in this position, it can feel pointless to try to fight for what you believe you are owed. Not attempting to do so could cost you a significant amount of you money in the long run.
Federal Equal Pay Remedies
Because no law currently exists on South Carolina’s state books that sets guidelines for equal pay—though the state’s Democrats have proposed legislation, it has been delayed in committee for over a year—those discriminated against may generally bring suit to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) either on the basis of gender discrimination or more specifically under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 (LLFPA), if the facts apply.
The LLFPA is an amendment to Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which holds that the 180-day statute of limitations for filing a charge of discrimination resets with every paycheck adversely affected by the alleged discriminatory conduct. This can be important because people are paid on differing schedules—some bimonthly, some every week, some every month. It can matter very much to have more time to file a charge, especially to someone working significant hours in order to survive. Either way, it is important that you have the ability to bring a charge under the proper legal authority, and the LLFPA helps to preserve the ability to do so, especially for poor workers.
Seek Knowledgeable Assistance
If you believe you are not receiving the pay to which you are entitled, you may be eligible for compensation. It is generally a good idea to consult an experienced employment discrimination attorney. The firm of Hitchcock & Potts has been handling these cases for many years, and we will be happy to work for you to help you get the outcome you deserve. Call us today for set up a free consultation regarding your case.