One of the most shocking moments in the recent Women’s World Cup came after the final, when the head of the Spanish soccer federation kissed one of the victorious Spanish players – first on the cheeks (ok – it’s European) but then on her lips (not ok without consent – European or not). In the locker room immediately afterwards, the player said “I didn’t like it.” And this moment highlights just how much further the women soccer players have to go in terms of achieving equity with their male counterparts – on the field and off. It also provides a reminder to employers generally that equity in the workplace encompasses many things. Continue Reading Lessons from the World Cup – Gender Equity Goes Far Beyond Pay
In this third (and final) post of our mini-series based on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s pay discrimination article, we’ll take a look at the barriers to pay equity identified by the EEOC and their suggestions for preventing pay discrimination. As previously noted, the EEOC issues a quarterly digest of EEO law that sometimes includes an article, like this one, providing insight into the EEOC’s approach to (and expansion of!) discrimination protections for employees. Again, while the EEOC’s article is focused on the federal workplace, many of their observations and action items are equally applicable to the private workplace. Our first post discussed pay discrimination claims under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII, and the second addressed the intersectionality and sex-plus discrimination theories. So now we move from the legal theories to the practical considerations.
Continue Reading The EEOC Speaks: Pay Discrimination – Barriers and Suggested Actions
In my first blog post in this little series based on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s article “In Pursuit of Pay Examining Barriers to Equal Pay, Intersectional Discrimination Theory, and Recent Pay Equity Initiatives,” I covered the EEOC’s explanation of the difference between pay discrimination claims under the Equal Pay Act and Title VII. (As I explained last time, the EEOC issues a quarterly Digest of EEO Law that occasionally contains articles of interest to the private employer community. Prior articles that I’ve shared include those on fragmentation of harassment claims, religious discrimination, comparing harassment prevention to crime prevention, and new types of race discrimination, among other things). In this post, we’ll review the EEOC’s take on intersectionality (one of the EEOC’s new favorite topics) and sex-plus discrimination in the context of pay discrimination claims.
Continue Reading The EEOC Speaks: Pay Discrimination – Intersectionality and Sex-Plus
So, as you may or may not know, I periodically review the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s quarterly Digest of Equal Employment Opportunity Law for fun. (I know, I need a better hobby). Among the summaries of recent EEOC decisions and federal court opinions related to the federal workplace, a digest might also contain an in-depth article on a particularly hot area of interest to the EEOC. Although the articles are targeted towards federal agencies, as I’ve previously noted, they offer private employers a roadmap as to the EEOC’s thinking. And the most recent article is just chock full of interesting tidbits about pay discrimination – a topic of particular focus for the Biden administration. In fact, the article is so jam-packed, I’m going to break it up into a few different blog posts, starting off with this one, which covers the EEOC’s discussion of the Equal Pay Act v. Title VII. I’ve boiled down the EEOC’s discussion into a more direct comparison of the differences.
Continue Reading The EEOC Speaks: Pay Discrimination – the EPA v. Title VII
Determining pay based on gender is wrong. It’s also pernicious. The domino effect of an inappropriately depressed starting wage can impact pay for one’s lifetime. It’s also illegal under Federal and State anti-discrimination laws; pay decisions must be based on the job, not protected characteristics, including a person’s gender. Beyond these laws, which often address alleged violations after-the-fact, pay equity increasingly is being dealt with by State laws prohibiting inquiries about past salary and/or that require employers to provide applicants with salary ranges for the job they are seeking. The goal is to head off discrimination and stop the dominos from tumbling toward a lifetime of depressed wages. All of these laws are premised on the statistics that show women earn roughly 83 % of wages earned by men.
Continue Reading Pay Equity – What’s Good for the Gander is Good for the Goose?
So I found this case, Smith v. URS Corp., interesting because it involved a black employee who got what he wanted, but was still able to sue for discrimination.
The black employee received the job he applied for (training specialist) and more pay than he asked for ($57,668 instead of $46,000). He was given a classification title and job code of “Senior Training Specialist (65010)” and a job grade of S5.12. Five months later, a white applicant applied for the same training specialist job but asked for a $65,000 salary. He was hired into a Senior Training Specialist role at his requested salary, with a classification title and job code of “Staff Training Specialist (65010) and a job grade of S5.13. Shortly after that, another black applicant applied for a training specialist position with a desired salary of “58K to 65K.” He was given the same job title, classification, code and grade as the other black employee.
The first black employee sued for race discrimination after he was terminated pursuant to a reduction in force. The trial court threw out his claims on summary judgment before trial because the black employee had received the job he wanted and more pay than he sought. (Hmm, that seems pretty logical, doesn’t it?)Continue Reading Giving Employees What They Want Doesn’t Preclude Discrimination Claim