The Equal Pay Act Comes of Age
June 2013 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Equal Pay Act, which provides that men and women must be paid the same wage for the same work.
Since President Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law women’s earnings have increased from 59 cents on the dollar earned by men to 77 cents. The numbers are not as favorable for minority and low wage earners.
The good news is women get jobs at a faster rate than men. On the other hand, this is a double-edged sword because the greatest job growth is in low-wage positions.
New Legislation Opens Doors To Equal Pay
Legislators have made attempts to address this persistent wage gap. Under the Lily Ledbetter Equal Pay Act, the time was extend which to file a claim for underpayment of wages.
Another piece of legislation, the Paycheck Fairness Act, closes many equal pay loopholes and cracks down on employers who punish employees for sharing salary information, but this has been blocked every time it has been introduced since 2005 but appears to be gaining support.
Employees Take Action for Equal Pay (EPA)
Clearly, legislation is only one avenue to address the female wage gap.
Employees who have been wronged need to take legal action against their employers. By doing so, one wrong against an employee will be righted and the employer will get the message:
“Avoid lawsuits. Pay your female employees the same wage for the same job.”
Damages under the EPA include the difference in pay a female received compared to her male counterpart, liquidated damages (double back pay) and an award paying your attorneys’ fees and costs.
If you believe your employer has failed to pay you an equal wage, contact us today for a free consultation.
As President Kennedy said when he signed the Equal Pay Act 50 years ago, we are committed to end the “unconscionable practice of paying female employees less wage than male employees for the same job.”