A few weeks ago, President Barack Obama continued his efforts to raise awareness and seek solutions to close the pay gap that exists between women and men. He did so by unveiling new rules to compel companies with more than 100 workers to provide the federal government with annual data noting how much their employees are paid based upon race, gender and ethnicity. This push by the Obama administration will further assist in public enforcement of equal pay and anti-discriminatory laws. The goal is to allow this information, which covers more than 63 million employees, to give more insight into a wealth of current data to correctly assesses which workers are getting the short end of the stick when it comes to pay.
Historically, it is no secret that full-time female workers are paid a fraction of their male counterparts. In 2014, for every dollar paid to a male worker, female workers receive 79 cents.
Along with the new guidelines for the disclosing of salaries to the feds, President Obama also continues to push Congress to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, which is designed to help close loopholes in the Equal Pay Act of 1963. It will also require employers to prove that pay gaps are due to legitimate business reasons, and not discrimination.
The announcement by President Obama came on the seventh anniversary of his signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, which seeks to close the gender pay gap by making it easier for employees to sue for pay discrimination.
“The notion that we would somehow be keeping my daughters … any of your daughters out of opportunity, not allowing them to thrive in any field, not allowing them to fully participate in every human endeavor, that’s counterproductive,” Obama said.
So what does this mean for your career?
hough many laws are in place to thwart unconstitutional income discrimination, if you are ever in a position where you feel you are not being paid comparable to your male co-workers, how should you react ?
Before this recent announcement by President Obama, determining if you were being paid less than your male counterpart was a bit tricky. Not many employees are open about their salaries and sometimes data from salary calculating websites may prove to be off-target. Hopefully this influx of new data will provide a more in-depth look into the industries and companies who offer the largest gaps in pay. This, in turn, should lead to more solutions and laws being established to assist with this persistent issue. Holding larger companies responsible for any discriminatory pay will place them at the forefront of public opinion.
As noted by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) here are some factors to consider if you feel you have been discriminated against based upon pay:
* The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal
* The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal.
* Job content (not job titles) determines whether jobs are substantially equal.
* All forms of pay are covered by this law, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options,
profit sharing and bonus plans, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, cleaning or gasoline
allowances, hotel accommodations, reimbursement for travel expenses, and benefits.
* If there is an inequality in wages between men and women, employers may not reduce the wages of
either sex to equalize their pay.
The time limit for filing an EPA charge with the EEOC and the time limit for going to court are the same: within two years of the alleged unlawful compensation practice or, in the case of a willful violation, within three years.
If you feel you are experiencing wage discrimination due to gender, be certain to gather all relevant facts per the factors listed above, and also speak with an employment and labor attorney who may give you more information surrounding your particular circumstances.