When the Equal Pay Act was signed into law by President Kennedy in 1963, women were earning an average of 59 cents on the dollar compared to men. While women hold nearly half of today's jobs, and their earnings account for a significant portion of the household income that sustains the financial well-being of their families, they are still experiencing a gap in pay compared to men's wages for similar work. Today, women earn about 81 cents on the dollar compared to men — a gap that results in hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost wages. For African-American women and Latinas, the pay gap is even greater.
On January 29, 2009, President Obama signed his very first piece of legislation: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. The law, named after a woman who discovered her employer was paying her less than men doing the same job, makes it easier for Mrs. Ledbetter and others like her to effectively challenge unequal pay.
Lilly Ledbetter took her pay discrimination complaint all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled in 2007 that claims like hers had to be filed within 180 days of an employer’s decision to pay a worker less—even if the worker didn’t learn about the unfair pay until much later, as was the case for Mrs. Ledbetter.
To make sure that people can effectively challenge unequal pay, the law President Obama signed shortly after taking office amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 so that unfair pay complaints can be filed within 180 days of a discriminatory paycheck—and that 180 days resets after each paycheck is issued.
Not every business, company, or corporation violates the Equal Pay Act of 1963, or the amendment of the Equal Pay Act, President Obama signed into law in 2009 (Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act). Some business entities simply can't get around minimum wage. Violations of the Equal Pay Act, although not exclusively, typically occur in what are referred to as professional occupations.
Violations of the Equal Pay Act of 1963 may sometimes also be considered a form of Sexual Discrimination. Especially when the identified difference of pay between men and women for the same job at the same business entity is evident as a pattern of history, and thus may be shown that discrimination exists as an intentional company policy, which is definitely unlawful.
It is important to note that it is unlawful for an employer to retaliate against you for filing an Equal Pay or other Employment Law case against them. For information about unlawful employment retaliation, please click here.
In employment law cases, including Equal Pay cases, if you are successful in your claim, Federal Law provides that your employer may be ordered to pay your attorney fees and court costs.
If you believe you have been the victim of an Equal Pay Act Violation in the Workplace, contact The Roper Law Firm by calling 706.596.5353 or by using our online case evaluation form.
Attorney, John W. Roper is an experienced Equal Pay Act and Employment Law Lawyer providing professional legal services in serving in Columbus Georgia, Columbus-Muscogee County Georgia, the Middle and Northern District Courts of Georgia, and Georgia's Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
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