Equal Pay for Equal Work


Protection Afforded by the Equal Pay Act

The EPA requires that men and women be provided with equal pay for equal work at the same distinct physical place of business.  The jobs must be substantially equal, not necessarily identical. The factual inquiry to determine whether the jobs are substantially equal depends on the job content, not the job title. 

The EPA provides that employers may not pay unequal wages to men and women who perform jobs that require substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions within the same establishment. 

Title VII, the ADEA, and the ADA prohibit compensation discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, or disability. Unlike the EPA, there is no requirement that the claimant's job be substantially equal to that of a higher paid person outside the claimant's protected class, nor do these statutes require the claimant to work in the same establishment as a comparator.

Purpose of the Equal Pay Act

Congress created the Equal Protection Act of 1963 ("EPA") because it found that in certain industries, there are wage differentials based on sex that:

   (1) depresses wages and living standards for employees necessary for their health and efficiency;

   (2) prevents the maximum utilization of the available labor resources;

   (3) tends to cause labor disputes, thereby burdening, affecting, and obstructing commerce;

   (4) burdens commerce and the free flow of goods in commerce; and

   (5) constitutes an unfair method of competition.

The purpose of the EPA is to correct the conditions above.

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