Employment Discrimination Blog

Monday, August 7, 2017

The Equal Pay Act Explained

What are my rights under the Equal Pay Act?

Employees in America are protected by numerous federal and state laws against discrimination.  One form of discrimination involves paying employees different wages for the same work on the basis of an employee’s sex.  While we consider ourselves to be a progressive and forward thinking society, the sad reality is that female employees working full time in the United States continue to earn just 79 cents for every dollar earned by their male counterparts.  Our Atlanta, Georgia employment discrimination attorneys explain the Equal Pay Act and your rights under it below.

The Equal Pay Act

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires that male and female employees be provided equal pay for equal work.  The jobs do not need to be identical, but rather substantially equal.  Proving you are not receiving fair pay is a difficult task.  Employees that believe they are being discriminated against will need to consult with an employment discrimination lawyer to determine if they may have a viable claim for unfair pay.

Alleging Wage Discrimination

To bring a viable claim under the Equal Pay Act, you will need to prove that 1) you performed substantially the same work, and your performance requires substantially equal effort, skill, and responsibility as the jobs held by employees of the opposite sex; 2) the job was performed under similar working conditions; and 3) you were paid a lower wage than an employee of the opposite sex.  

With these elements met, your employer will need to provide a valid reason for the wage disparity that does not involve the employee’s sex.  If the employer can explain the disparity, he or she might not be liable.  If, on the other hand, the employer cannot provide a strong affirmative defense to the claims of wage discrimination, the employee can recover damages.  Damages could include a pay raise to match that of male employees and liquidated damages.  These claims can be hard to bring and even more difficult to prove, but with the help of an employment discrimination lawyer you can receive the pay you deserve and prevent illegal discriminatory practices in Georgia.


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