2019Equal Pay
 U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On September 19, 2019, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – the agency that enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – filed an equal pay discrimination lawsuit that claimed a nursing home in Missouri violated the Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963 by allegedly paying a female nurse less than two male nurses performing the same job, according to an EEOC press release.

The EEOC lawsuit claimed that Maisha Hill was hired as a licensed practical nurse (LPN) in March 2017 by the Edgewood Manor Center for Rehab and Healthcare in Raytown, Missouri, a suburb of Kansas City, at the rate of $21 per hour even though two male LPNs performing the same job at the nursing home were paid $25 per hour. The lawsuit also claimed that Edgewood Manor admitted it should have paid Hill $25 per hour.

The alleged conduct violates the EPA, which prohibits employers from paying women and men different wages for jobs with the same required skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions. The EEOC filed the lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri after first attempting to reach a settlement and seeks back pay, declaratory judgment, and an order preventing future discrimination.

“Women continue to make, on average, less than men. This nurse was paid 84 percent of what the male nurses made. We must ensure that unjustified pay disparities between men and women do not endure, and the EEOC will pursue all enforcement means to ensure an equal playing field,” Jack Vasquez, Jr., Director of the EEOC’s St. Louis District Office, stated in the press release about the equal pay lawsuit.

The EEOC enforces the EPA and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which also prohibits employment discrimination such as compensation on the basis of sex. Earlier in September of 2019, the EEOC filed an equal pay discrimination lawsuit against a packaging company that claimed the firm violated the EPA by paying a female senior employee less money than it paid a male employee who had the same job.

In July of 2019, the EEOC filed an equal pay discrimination lawsuit against the University of Miami that claimed the school paid a female political science professor less than her male counterpart. In May of 2019, the EEOC announced a Kansas school district agreed to pay $11,250 to settle a wage discrimination lawsuit that claimed a female principal was paid less than male principals for the same job at the same school.

According to the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE), the gender wage gap has narrowed by less than one-half a penny per year in the United States since Congress passed the EPA in 1963. Statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau revealed that women earned 80 percent of what men earned in 2015. As a result, laws prohibiting employers from asking about salary history have increased to narrow the gender pay gap.

Bans on employers asking about salary history have passed in cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Louisville, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. Laws to help ensure equal pay have also passed in the states of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

“If new pay is based on previous pay, then gender pay gaps are perpetuated. The goal of equal pay laws is to base compensation on the work performed and not rely on previous pay that may reflect gender discrimination,” explained Attorney Lester Rosen, the founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of  Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) and the author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual.’

“When an employer has a background screening firm perform past employment verifications, it is critical that firm knows which cities, counties, and states prohibit such questions, or else that employer could be fined,” said Rosen, noting that the growth of laws prohibiting employers from asking about salary history was chosen by ESR as one of the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2019.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global background check provider – offers employers flexible and customizable employment verifications that provide the salary history of applicants only if permitted by state and local equal pay laws. To learn more about employment verifications from ESR, visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Verifications-References/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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