Equal Pay Act
Rob Wiley: My name is Rob Wiley, and today I'm going to be speaking with Austin employment lawyer, Colin Walsh, about equal pay in the workplace. So, we talk about the disparity between men and women, and I think that there is a both scientific and common-sense feeling that women simply are not being paid the same as men in the workplace. Do we have laws that would require employers to pay men and women the same?
Colin Walsh: Yes, we do. In fact, it's called the Equal Pay Act, which prohibits an employer from paying men and women differently for the same job.
Rob Wiley: Now the Equal Pay Act, that only involves disparities based on gender. Is that correct?
Colin Walsh: Yes, that's correct.
Rob Wiley: But, what if there was a disparity in pay because of race or national origin or something like that that's going on? Is that legal?
Colin Walsh: No. That is probably not legal. If somebody's being paid differently because of their race or religion or age, then that is age, religion and race discrimination. And, they should definitely contact an employment lawyer to help discuss the pros and cons of moving forward with that.
Rob Wiley: Let's say an employee feels very strongly that she is not being paid the same amount as men are for the same job. What should she be doing?
Colin Walsh: She should contact an employment lawyer to discuss the pros and cons of taking action on this. It is against the law under the Equal Pay Act.
Rob Wiley: Now does it apply the same for men? What if you had a particular situation where a man felt that he was being paid less than women were for the same job?
Colin Walsh: Yes, it would apply to a male who felt that he was being paid less than a female for the same job. Absolutely.
Rob Wiley: So one thing that's been in the news somewhat was the Lilly Ledbetter situation and then the law that congress passed, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act what does that law do?
Colin Walsh: So, what the Lilly Ledbetter law does, is it allows employees female employees, or any employees, who have been paid differently for a long period of time to bring a cause of action or to bring a case for that disparity in pay as soon as they discover that they were not being paid properly.
Rob Wiley: And, I think what happened in Ms. Ledbetter's case was that she had actually been paid less than men doing the same job for decades. And, she only recently found out about it. And then when she brought her claim, the Supreme Court said that she was too late. And, so, Congress fixed that law and so now you don't lose your violation because you didn't know about it. But you can actually take action now if you're currently being paid differently than men.
Colin Walsh: Yes, that, that's correct. Every new paycheck is a new potential cause of action under the Lilly Ledbetter Act.
Rob Wiley: Thank you, Colin.