New York Equal Pay Attorneys
Employees have a right to receive equal pay for equal work. Pay inequity, or discrimination in compensating employees, is against the law.
Compensation discrimination is a serious offense. New Yorkers are protected from pay inequity by employers under the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA), Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL), and the New York City Human Rights Law (CHRL).
Know Your Rights
It is illegal to pay women less than men for the same work.
Employers must provide equal pay for equal work. Discriminating against an employee by offering lower wages or benefits violates the law. Equal pay laws apply to pay differences based on gender, race, religion, age, or disability.
If you believe that you have been the victim of illegal wage discrimination, you are protected under federal, state, and New York City laws.
Gender-Based Differences in Pay
The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women be paid the same for equal work in the same establishment. The jobs do not need to be identical, but they have to require substantially equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and they have to be performed under similar working conditions within the same establishment.
Two people with different job titles may have substantially equal jobs based on the tasks they perform.
- You worked your way up to the position of regional manager. A male regional manager with similar training and work experience was recently hired, and you learn that he will be paid more than you.
- Your company’s health insurance policy does not cover your husband, because it is assumed that he will have his own benefits. However, your male coworkers’ wives are all covered by the policy.
- You are a top salesperson for your company, but your employer reassigns you to a less desirable territory, while a male employee with lower sales is given your territory and client base, enabling him to make much more in commissions than you.
- You work as a salesperson at a high-end retail store that sells men’s clothing. The male sales staff receives a $12,000 per year clothing allowance. The female sales staff do not. This may violate the Equal Pay Act.
It is also illegal to pay someone less because of race, color, religion, national origin, age, or disability.
In addition to equal pay laws, the law also protects other groups from compensation discrimination. At the federal level, Title VII, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 all prohibit compensation discrimination.
- An employee with a disability receives less pay than co-workers without disabilities who perform the same job. The employer does not provide an explanation for the differential. This is illegal compensation discrimination based on disability.
- A school district hires both cleaners and custodians to take care of the school buildings. Cleaners and custodians perform the same job duties, but custodians are paid higher wages than cleaners. All the cleaners are people of color, and all the custodians are white. The district justifies the higher custodian wages by arguing that custodians must take the civil service exam. Since both positions perform the same job tasks, the fact that custodians have to take the civil service exam does not justify paying them more.
- When an employee becomes eligible for Social Security retirement benefits, his boss cuts his wages since he will be receiving Social Security. This is illegal compensation discrimination based on age.
The equal pay laws protects employees from discrimination in any form of compensation, including salary, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit sharing, life insurance, benefits, and vacation or holiday pay.
Employees Can Discuss Wages
It is illegal for employers to ban employees from discussing their wages with co-workers.
Employees are legally allowed to inquire about, discuss, or disclose wages with other employees in order to uncover compensation discrimination. However, no employee can be required to discuss wages with another employee.
Differences in pay may be legal under particular circumstances. Pay differences must be based on a seniority system, a merit system, a system based on quantity or quality of production, or another valid factor such as education, training, or experience.