Congress enacted the Equal Pay Act in 1963, yet gender wage inequality remains a severe issue for many women in the workforce, specifically women of color. The latest earnings report from the Department of Labor details a roughly 20% wage gap between men and women during the fourth quarter of 2018. It is a far cry from the empowerment and equality that the Equal Pay Act promises to safeguard.
Although California has lowered its own wage gap below 17% through the passage of the 2016 California Fair Pay Act, unethical businesses continue many unfair practices that discriminate against women.
The effects of these unfair wage practices have far-reaching consequences for employees and their families. Because of reduced earnings, women receive less retirement income, are steered towards lower-paying jobs, and are unable to pay off their loans as promptly, putting them years, even decades behind their male counterparts.
If you do not receive fair compensation for your work, you should consult with a reputable employment lawyer to determine what can be done. Since 2007, the nationally recognized attorneys at Wilshire Law Firm have aggressively fought for wage inequality victims and their families, standing right by their side every step of the way. Our Los Angeles fair pay lawyers have dedicated themselves to helping you fight for equal pay and take action against an employer who has treated you unfairly or otherwise jeopardized your rights. Furthermore, if you have been discriminated against based on disability, race, gender, or if you believe you were otherwise wrongfully terminated, contact our California equal pay attorneys.
California Fair Pay Act vs Equal Pay Act
Over the last several decades, California has passed some of the most progressive pieces of employment legislation in the United States. This includes the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and the California Fair Pay Act of 2015. Let’s take a closer look at each:
- President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act as part of the New Frontier Program in 1963. Its purpose was to address the wage disparity between men and women in the 1960s and has continued to impose strict mandates protecting workers. Although the gender pay gap has narrowed since 1963, it has, unfortunately, remained unchanged since 2004. According to the act, the following conditions are prohibited and punishable by law:
- Different wages paid to employees of the opposite sex where the employees perform the same job and skill, or;
- The employees work under the same conditions.
- California Fair Pay Act – In 2015, the California Fair Pay Act was passed in response to unfair wages and unprotected working conditions. Introduced as an amendment to the California Equal Pay Act of 1949, this piece of legislation requires the following:
- Employers can only pay different wages to employees based on seniority, a variation in the quality of work or time spent, or a job-related concern that has nothing to do with sex, race, or ethnicity.
- Employers cannot prevent employees from discussing their rate of pay with co-workers
- Employers cannot ask what the job candidate’s previous salary was
- Equal pay is calculated based on “substantially similar work.”
Strict Liability for Pay Discrimination Under the Equal Pay Act
The Equal Pay Act is considered a strict liability statute that requires employers to pay men and women the same amount for similar or equivalent work. This means a person or business can be found negligent, and therefore held liable, if they are not within accordance with the Equal Pay Act.
How a Lawyer Can Help Claim Damages for Equal Pay Discrimination?
Consulting with a California equal pay lawyer is critical if you are going to recover damages in an equal pay discrimination case. Our injury lawyers have recovered hundreds of millions for clients, but we are dedicated to representing workers who have been denied equal pay or had their rights violated. If we discover your employer has violated the law, we will help you file a claim under the Equal Pay Act or California Fair Pay Act and require those responsible to pay punitive damages.
Can You Be Paid Differently for the Same Job?
According to the Equal Pay Act, your employer cannot pay you less than a coworker who performs the same or a similar job. However, it is important to keep in mind there are several factors to consider here. For one, both employees must have the same or similar education, skills, experience, and training. If, for example, one employee has more training than the other and they perform the same job, the individual with the additional training may be eligible for higher pay. But if the employees are on an equal playing field across all categories, you cannot be paid less than your coworker.
How Do You Prove Equal Pay Discrimination?
When comparing one job to another to determine whether wage inequality is occurring, several comparison guidelines exist to decide whether the work performed in each position is substantially similar. When examining the contents of each job, many of the following aspects will be scrutinized:
- Skill Level — The experience, education, ability, and training required for each job, NOT the skills possessed by each employee. Seniority and merit are permissible factors for dissimilar rates of compensation.
- Effort — The physical and mental effort levels required to perform in each position. Quantity or quality of work may be considered in a company’s compensation structure.
- Responsibility — The accountability level each position reaches.
- Work Environment — Physical surroundings and workplace hazards are included.
- Establishment — The wage inequality must be occurring at the same physical location, even for businesses with multiple separate locations.
The strength of a wage inequality claim often rests on the direct evidence you are able to gather. Wilshire Law Firm’s proven employment lawyers can help you gather documents, videos, witness statements, and other evidence that can prove invaluable to your pay discrimination claim. Using our specialized knowledge, Wilshire Law Firm assists victims of wage inequality, ensuring that they receive the pay, benefits, and compensation they deserve.
How do You Deal with Pay Discrimination?
Pay discrimination is a sensitive topic that has been a problem in the United States for many years. Thanks to pieces of legislation such as the Equal Pay Act and the California Fair Pay Act, employees have options to help remedy the disparity. If you can prove that you are receiving a lesser wage than your co-worker who performs a similar job and this pay gap is based on your gender, race, ethnicity, disability, or another factor, you may have a legal case on your hands. The first thing you should do is contact an experienced Los Angeles equal pay lawyer and discuss your case.
Contact Los Angeles Equal Pay Attorney Today
With more than $400 million recovered for our clients, you owe it to yourself to contact the equal pay lawyers at Wilshire Law Firm NOW by calling (800) 522 7274 or filling out our online contact form.
The attorneys at our Los Angeles equal pay law firm are here to answer any questions you may have and to help you understand your rights. If you’ve been discriminated against or paid an unfair wage based on gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other reason, please contact Wilshire Law Firm immediately.