In 2013, one would think wage discrepancies based on gender would be a thing of the past. Unfortunately, the gender pay gap is still alive and well in many American workplaces. Although equal pay should be provided for equal work, women still frequently earn less than their male co-workers despite having the same employment responsibilities! For example, full-time working females of all ages earned 82.2 cents on the dollar compared to the wages of their male counterparts as recently as 2012. A study by the Institute for Women’s Policy Research concluded that females earned less in every occupation except when employed as bookkeepers, accountants, or auditing clerks. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces federal law prohibiting employment discrimination based on one’s gender under the Equal Pay Act and Title XII. If you are making less than a fellow co-worker of the opposite sex, you may be asking yourself some common questions that are addressed below.

What is the Equal Pay Act?

The Equal Pay Act, enacted to eliminate the pay gap, requires male and female employees to be compensated on equal terms when performing equal work. The jobs of male and female employees do not necessarily have to be identical, but they must be substantially similar in order to qualify for protection under the Equal Pay Act.

The content of your job, not your title, determines whether it is considered substantially similar to that of a co-worker of the opposite sex. If male and female employees are not equally compensated for substantially similar work, an employer cannot reduce anyone’s wages in order to equalize pay. Rather, your employer must provide compensation equal to the higher wages paid to other employees performing substantially similar work.

What type of compensation does the Equal Pay Act cover?

The Equal Pay Act covers all forms of compensation. For example, salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing, bonus plans, life insurance policies, vacation and holiday pay, cleaning or gasoline allowances, hotel accommodations, and reimbursement for expenses must be provided to employees with substantially similar jobs on equally, regardless of sex

I believe I am a victim of the pay gap in the form of wage discrimination, so what should I do now?

If you have a wage discrimination claim against your employer, you may proceed directly to court without previously filing a “Charge of Discrimination.” The deadline for bringing a lawsuit against your employer for an unlawful compensation practice based on sex discrimination is two years.

Remember, you are entitled to a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.  The pay gap is real and if you are not being compensated on equal terms because of your sex, the attorneys at Abney Law Office will aggressively pursue your claim.