EQUAL PAY ACT 1963
Employment Law – Equal Pay Act 1963
Introduction of Employment Law:
Employment law dictates in each and every part of work. Employment law applies to employees, employers, independent contractors, and unions. Employers and employees must follow specific guidelines such as selecting and interviewing employees, work issues, firing. Due to the complexity of employment relationships and the wide variety of situations that can arise, employment law involves legal issues, as diverse as discrimination, wrongful termination, wages and taxation, and workplace safety. Many of these issues are governed by applicable federal and state law.
Equal Pay Act 1963:
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 which is amended in 1972, it unlawful to discriminate in pay on the basis of sex when jobs involve equal work; require equivalent skills; effort and responsibility; and are performed under similar working conditions. The Equal Pay Act was the first law to suggest that the pay of women should be equal to men when their positions are equal. The purpose of the Equal Pay Act was to secure equal pay for women when they have jobs similar to men and to seek to eliminate discrimination and the depressing effects on living standards caused by reduced wages for female
workers. This act represents many years of effort by labor, management, and several private organizations unassociated with labor or management, to call attention to the unconscionable practice of paying female employees less wages than male employees for the same job. This measure adds to our laws another structure basic to democracy. It will add protection at the working place to the women, the same rights at the working place in a sense that they have enjoyed at the polling place. Differences based on a seniority system, a merit system, a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production, or based on any factor other than sex do not violate the act. This act was passed by Congress declaring that women and men must receive equal pay for equal work. This act was recommended by JFK’s Commission on the Status of Women.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits unequal pay or “substantially equal” work performed by men and women. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which is also a wage discrimination Act prohibits wage discrimination on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or national origin. However, the Equal Pay Act provides two advantages over Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. First, a lawsuit can be filed under the Equal Pay Act without first filing a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. In addition, unlike Title VII, the Equal Pay Act does not require proof that the employer acted intentionally when discriminating, which makes an Equal Pay Act case easier to win.
The Equal Pay Act pointed out that:
ïƒ˜ Depresses wages and living standards for employees necessary for their health and efficiency.
ïƒ˜ Prevents the maximum utilization of the available labor resources.
ïƒ˜ Tends to cause labor disputes, thereby burdening, affecting, and obstructing commerce.
ïƒ˜ Burdens commerce and the free flow of goods in commerce.
ïƒ˜ Constitutes an unfair method of competition.
Equal Pay Act requires that male and female workers receive equal pay for work requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions.
ïƒ˜ Skill – Measured by factors such as the experience, ability, education, and training required to perform the job. The key issue is what skills are required for the job, not what skills the individual employees may have. For example, two bookkeeping jobs could be considered equal under the EPA even if one of the job holders has a master’s degree in physics, since that degree would not be required for the job.
ïƒ˜ Effort – The amount of physical or mental exertion needed to perform the job. For example, suppose that men and women work side by side on a line assembling machine parts. The person at the end of the line must also lift the assembled product as he or she completes the work and place it on a board. That job requires more effort than the other assembly line jobs if the extra effort of lifting the assembled product off the line is substantial and is a regular part of the job. As a result, it would not be a violation to pay that person more, regardless of whether the job is held by a man or a woman.
ïƒ˜ Responsibility – The degree of accountability required in performing the job. For example, a salesperson who is delegated the duty of determining whether to accept customers’ personal checks has more responsibility than other salespeople. On the other hand, a minor difference in responsibility, such as turning out the lights at the end of the day, would not justify a pay differential.
ïƒ˜ Working Conditions – This encompasses two factors: (1) physical surroundings like temperature, fumes, and ventilation; and (2) hazards.
ïƒ˜ Establishment – The prohibition against compensation discrimination under the EPA applies only to jobs within an establishment. An establishment is a distinct physical place of business rather than an entire business or enterprise consisting of several places of business. However, in some circumstances, physically separate places of business should be treated as one establishment. For example, if a central administrative unit hires employees, sets their compensation, and assigns them to work locations, the separate work sites can be considered part of one establishment.
Wage differentials are permitted, however, if they are based on factors other than sex, such as a seniority system, a merit system, or a system measuring earnings by quantity or quality of production.
The Equal Pay Act of 1963, which is an amended to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, is a federal law that requires employers to pay all employees equally for equal work, regardless of their gender. The Equal Pay Act Was closely followed by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits discrimination in employment.
Exceptions to Equal Pay Requirement
The Act specifically stats that differences in pay between sexs based upon the following systems are not illegal:
ïƒ˜ Seniority System
ïƒ˜ Merit System
ïƒ˜ System which measures earnings by quality or quality of production
ïƒ˜ Differential based on any other factor other than sex
Under most Federal discrimination Laws, you must first file a discrimination charge with the EEOC to later file a lawsuit, if the EEOC doesn’t act on your behalf. However, under the Equal Pay Act, if applicable, you may file a lawsuit without first going through the EEOC.
Human Resource Management, By Garry Dessler
The Equal Pay Act: the first 30 years. By cramton, Suzanne M, Mishra, Jitendra
“Equal Pay Act of 1963″ Encyclopedia of Business, 2 e
Equal Pay for Equal Work, By Mutch, Rebecca J, Sikorcki February 5, 2007