Equal Pay Act

The Equal Pay Act of 1963 (“EPA”) is a provision under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) that prohibits employers from discriminating against employees based on sex with respect to wages and compensation. Under the Act, men and women in the same workplace must be paid equally for substantially equal (not necessarily identical) work.

Who Is Covered Under the EPA?

The EPA covers virtually all employers and all employees (including salaried employees). This includes employers who are required by law to comply with the FLSA minimum wage and overtime provisions and exempt employees who are not typically covered under FLSA.  (See, 29 USC 213(a)(1))

When Can Employers Pay Men and Women Differently?

Pay differences based on the following are permitted under the EPA:

  • Seniority;
  • Merit;
  • Quantity or quality of production; or
  • Any other factor other than sex

Reporting EPA Violations

Unlike other discrimination laws governed by the EEOC (such as Title VII, the ADA, the ADEA, etc.), employees who wish to allege a violation of the EPA may go directly to court. Employees are not required to first file an EEOC Charge of Discrimination. It is important to note that Title VII also makes it illegal to pay men and women differently for equal work. As such, employees alleging an EPA violation may also have a Title VII claim.

What Does This Mean For Employers?

Employers MUST pay men and women equally in the same work place for performing substantially equal work, unless there is a permitted reason for not doing so.

If you are unsure whether your payroll/compensation practices are in violation of the Equal Pay Act, or Title VII, consult with an employment attorney at www.yorkbowmanlaw.com.