What is the Equal Pay Act?

Submitted by eric on

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA) is a law that requires men and women in the same workplace to be given equal pay for equal work. If you can prove there is a pay discrepancy between you and other employees you may file a complaint and seek compensation from your employer for violating the equal pay conditions in the Equal Pay Act.

What Does the Equal Pay Act Do?

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 protects employees against wage discrimination based on their sex. This includes the following:

  • salary;
  • overtime pay;
  • bonuses;
  • life insurance;
  • vacation pay;
  • cleaning or gasoline allowances;
  • hotel accommodations;
  • reimbursement for travel expenses.

The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women be given equal pay for equal work in the same workplace. The jobs don’t have to be exactly the same, but they have to be substantially equal.

It’s the content of the job, not the job title, which determines whether jobs are considered equal.

Specifically, the EPA provides that employers may not pay unequal wages to men and women who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions within the same establishment.

If you are to file a discrimination complaint under the Equal Pay Act because you believe you are being paid less than you should be due to your gender, you should be able to prove that the job requires the same effort and skill and is performed under similar working conditions in the same workplace such as the physical environment.

How Do I File a Claim Under the Equal Pay Act?

The first step you need to take is lodge a claim by going directly to court as you are not required to file a complaint with the EEOC.

The time limit for filing an Equal Pay Act claim is within two years of the incident taking place. Title VII also makes it illegal to discriminate against an employee based on gender in both pay and benefits. Therefore, an employee who has an Equal Pay Act claim may also have a claim under Title VII.

What Do I Need When Filing an Equal Pay Act Violation?

You will need to provide evidence of the pay discrepancy showing that you are making less than an employee of the opposite gender undertaking exactly the same work at exactly the same skill level.  This should include the job description and pay slips of both you and the employee who is getting paid a higher amount.

Next Steps to Take

It is never easy proving you have been paid less than another worker who is employed doing the same job as yourself. However, an employment law attorney has years of experience dealing with Equal Pay Act claims and may be able to help you win your case of pay discrimination.

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