Equal Pay Discrimination Lawsuits Will Make Employers Focus on Salary History Question Bans in 2020

ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends
ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

Several businesses settled equal pay discrimination lawsuits filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for thousands of dollars in 2019 which will cause employers to focus more on salary history question bans that promote equal pay in 2020, according to the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” for 2020 compiled by leading global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR).

The equal pay discrimination lawsuits filed by the EEOC – a government agency enforcing federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination – claimed the employers underpaid women who performed substantially equal work under similar working conditions as men which violates the Equal Pay Act (EPA) of 1963 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that prohibit discrimination in compensation on the basis of sex.

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

The gender wage gap has narrowed by less than one-half a penny per year in the United States since the EPA was passed in 1963, according to the National Committee on Pay Equity (NCPE). In addition, women earned 80 percent of what men earned in 2015, according to statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau. As a result, laws prohibiting employers from asking about salary history have increased to close this gap.

The goal of salary history question bans is to base compensation on work performed and not on previous pay that 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 have been passed in cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Kansas City, Louisville, New Orleans, New York City, Philadelphia (on hold), 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 have also 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,” explains Attorney Lester Rosen, founder and chief executive officer (CEO) of Employment Screening Resources® (ESR), which offers employers legally compliant past employment verifications.

Since 2008, Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) has selected influential and emerging background check trends that have impacted the background screening industry. Each trend for 2020 will be announced via the ESR News Blog and listed on the “ESR Top Ten Background Check Trends” web page available at www.esrcheck.com/Tools-Resources/ESR-Top-Ten-Background-Check-Trends/.

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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