The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an important decision last week in Rizo v. Yovino, holding that an employer may not use an employee’s prior salary history to justify gender pay disparity under the federal Equal Pay Act.
Five members of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, including stars Carli Lloyd, Hope Solo and Alex Morgan, filed a complaint at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against the U.S. Soccer Federation alleging that they are paid almost four times less than the men’s national soccer team, despite generating nearly $20 million more in revenue in 2015. The complaint alleges that U.S. Soccer violated the Equal Pay Act by paying the reigning World Cup champions significantly less than the U.S. men’s team for similar work.
A group of female sales representatives alleging sex-based pay discrimination claims against their employer under the federal Equal Pay Act cleared an initial, but significant, hurdle last week when the Southern District of New York granted their motion for conditional certification of a collective action seeking more than $100 million in damages. The court held the plaintiffs had made the required “modest factual showing” that female sales representatives nationwide who worked for the defendant, Forest Laboratories, Inc., were “similarly situated” and should be permitted to opt-in to the lawsuit.
Written by Michael Arnold
Thirteen year-old pitching sensation Mo’ne Davis made headlines this summer as she became the first female to throw a shut-out in a Little League World Series game. She dominated batter after batter and looked mature beyond her years when she addressed the media. Meanwhile, a lesser-known news item seemed equally if not more impressive: Becky Hammon, the collegiate standout and 16-year WNBA veteran, was hired by the NBA world champion San Antonio Spurs as an assistant coach – the first female to occupy that role in any major male American professional sport. These are two more wonderful examples of women entering workplaces traditionally reserved for men.
President Obama has been focusing his attention on women in the workplace as well.
Written by Jill Collins
Last week, President Obama issued two important directives aimed at ending gender pay disparities. The first, an Executive Order, prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors with government contracts exceeding $10,000 from retaliating against employees who discuss their compensation with their co-workers. The second, a Presidential Memorandum, directs the Department of Labor (DOL) to establish new regulations that would require federal contractors and subcontractors to provide summary compensation data by sex and race to the DOL, which would allow the DOL to enhance its enforcement of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
The Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying a female employee less than a male employee for work that requires substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, and that is performed under similar working conditions within the same establishment. The EPA does not require proof of discriminatory intent, and an employer will be held liable to a woman who is paid less than a similarly-situated man unless it can show that the discrepancy is attributable to: (1) a bona fide seniority system; (2) a merit system; (3) a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (4) any factor other than sex.