What is Equal Pay & Compensation Discrimination
The Equal Pay Act and Wisconsin law require that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work.
Equal pay discrimination occurs when an employer pays employees of different sexes differently for equal work on jobs, the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility and which are performed under similar working conditions. “Equal skill” involves such factors as training, education and ability, measured in terms of the performance requirements of the job. “Equal effort” includes consideration of both mental and physical exertion. “Equal responsibility” is concerned with the degree of accountability required in the performance of the job. “Equal,” however, does not mean “identical.”
Lawful reasons for a pay disparity include:
- A seniority system
- A merit system
- A system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production
- Any factor other than sex
The Equal Pay Act is known as a strict liability statute, meaning that, unlike Title VII, the ADA, or the ADEA, it is not necessary to prove intent to discriminate. An employer that pays men and women different wages for similar work is automatically liable unless it proves one of the defenses mentioned above.
Equal Pay & Compensation Discrimination vs. Sex Discrimination
Title VII prohibits an employer from discriminating against an employee or applicant relating to his or her pay, compensation, or benefits because of his or her sex. An applicant or employee who has a potential claim under the Equal Pay Act may also have a similar claim under Title VII for sex discrimination.
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