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Most Common Employment Law Issues:

When Is a Pay Disparity Valid?

An employer is allowed to have pay disparities under the Equal Pay Act if the differentiation is not based on gender. If an employee establishes a claim against an employer for an Equal Pay Act violation, the employer can offer an affirmative defense to invalidate the claim.

To prove that a pay disparity is not based on gender discrimination, an employer must provide tangible proof, in the form of a legitimate business structure, such as:  

An employer may also offer other factors including experience, prior salary, educational achievement, or proven ability to generate higher revenue to support a pay differential. However, employers must be careful not to establish a differential based on any other protected class such as race, ethnicity, nationality, age or disability which would also be a violation.

Similar Working Conditions

Generally, an employer may not claim that working day versus night shifts or inside versus outside is automatically a dissimilar working conditions justifying a pay differential if the work, despite this difference, is substantially the same. However, they can be used as a defense if the employer can establish that the pay difference is typical of industry standards.

Can an Employer Lower another Wage to Avoid Wage Discrimination?

No, when an employer corrects a pay difference, no employee's wage may be reduced. It is the lower paid employee's salary that must be raised. 

Do I Need a Lawyer Experienced in Gender Discrimination Suits?

Defending against a sex discrimination suit is a difficult process. If you are an employer being sued for sex discrimination, you should speak to an employment lawyer immediately.

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Last Modified: 05-20-2015 02:53 PM PDT

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