2020Equal Pay
Job Applicants with Question Marks

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

On February 27, 2020, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) – a federal agency that advances opportunity in the workplace by enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – announced that a winter recreational vehicle (RV) manufacturer has agreed to pay $20,000 to settle an equal pay discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC, according to a press release from the EEOC.

The EEOC lawsuit claimed that Isanti, Minnesota-based SnoBear USA, Inc. paid a female welder less money than male welders with the same experience and skill levels which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963 that prohibit discrimination in compensation on the basis of sex. The EEOC filed its lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota.

SnoBear will pay $20,000 in monetary relief to the discrimination victim as part of a four-year consent decree settling the lawsuit, which also provides non-monetary relief intended to prevent pay discrimination in SnoBear’s workplace in the future. SnoBear must train managers on Title VII and the EPA while tracking pay by job title and gender and regularly reporting this data to the EEOC.

“In addition to compensating the affected female employee, the decree will allow the EEOC to continue to monitor compliance for an extended period of time. We expect that by ensuring pay equity, the decree will also help SnoBear attract the most qualified workforce without regard to gender,” Greg Gochanour, the EEOC’s regional attorney in Chicago, Illinois, stated in the press release.

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 gap.

Several businesses settled equal pay discrimination lawsuits filed by the EEOC for thousands of dollars in 2019. This growing trend will cause employers to focus on salary history question bans in 2020 that promote equal pay between men and women, according to the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2020 compiled by leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR).

In October 2019, a health care firm paid $50,000 for paying female nurses less than a male nurse. In May 2019, a school district paid $11,250 for paying a female principal less than male principals. In April 2019, a manufacturer paid $77,500 for paying a female employee less than a male counterpart. In January 2019, an insurance firm paid $36,802 for paying female investigators less than male investigators.

The goal of salary history question bans is to base compensation on work performed and not previous pay, which may reflect and perpetuate gender discrimination. In 2019 alone, laws with prohibitions on salary history questions by employers were passed in the states of Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, and North Carolina. Similar laws were passed in cities such as Atlanta, Cincinnati, Columbia, and Toledo.

As of 2020, salary history question bans that support equal pay have been passed in cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Louisville, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and San Francisco. The states of California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Vermont, and Wisconsin passed similar bans.

“When an employer has a background screening firm perform past employment verifications, it is critical that firm knows which cities, counties, and states prohibit salary history questions, or else that employer could be fined,” explained Attorney Lester Rosen, the founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) and the author of ‘The Safe Hiring Manual.’

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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