The attorneys at The Employment Law Group® law firm have substantial experience representing employees in Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) proceedings. For example, in Cooke v. United States, the firm secured one of the largest damages awards out of the Court of Federal Claims in an EPA case for a former female director who alleged that her employer willfully and in bad faith discriminated against her by paying her less than similarly-situated male directors. In addition, The Employment Law Group® law firm has sponsored seminars for practitioners in the Washington, DC area to provide practical tips on effectively litigating claims under the EPA.
What is the Equal Pay Act?
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 generally requires covered employers to provide equal pay to persons performing the same job regardless of gender. Since the EPA is a part of the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are also prohibited from retaliating against an employee who files a claim under the EPA or cooperates with an investigation of such claim.
Who is covered under the Equal Pay Act?
The EPA applies to any employee adversely affected by a covered employer’s failure to pay equal wages to employees of different genders performing the same job. Accordingly, female and male employees of federal and state governments can bring an action for violation of the EPA.
What must an EPA plaintiff prove to prevail?
To prevail under the EPA, an employee
must prove the following:
• That he/she received less wages than a similarly-situated employee of the opposite gender;
• That he/she performed work that requires substantially equal skill, effort, and responsibility; and
• That he/she performed his/her job under similar working conditions as the opposite gender counterpart.
An employer can avoid liability by demonstrating that the wage disparity was based solely on seniority, merit, or some other factor independent of gender.
What can a prevailing plaintiff recover?
Under the EPA, a prevailing employee can receive back pay, interest, attorney fees, and litigation costs. Where the court finds a lack of good faith, an employee can recover back wages in the amount of double the back pay award (called “liquidated damages”). Where the court finds a willful violation of the EPA, the award can extend back pay to cover the prior three years (instead of the normal two years).
Are there alternative remedies?
In addition to the relief available
under the EPA, an employee can also file a complaint
under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title
VII”) to remedy pay discrimination. Unlike the EPA where
the burden is on the employer to establish that the pay
differential was premised on a factor other than gender,
a Title VII plaintiff must prove that the employer acted
with discriminatory intent when it made the decision to
pay unequal wages. To further clarify Title VII,
Congress recently enacted the
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which increases the
time frame in which employees can sue for discriminatory
compensation under Title VII.
Employees may also have a separate cause of action for equal pay discrimination under state statutes.
If you feel that you have been the subject of equal pay discrimination, contact The Employment Law Group® law firm at 1-888-603-0983.
Contact Us 24/7
Toll Free: 1-888-603-0983
ABOUT THE FIRM
The Employment Law Group® law firm represents employees nationally who have blown the whistle on corporate fraud and abuse and who have been the victims of discrimination, harassment, or other violations of their civil rights. With offices in Washington, D.C., San Francisco, and Los Angeles, California, The Employment Law Group® law firm’s seasoned trial attorneys have earned a highly desirable record of favorable settlements and verdicts on behalf of its clients.