- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit accusing a Tennessee packaging company of paying one of its female executives less than a male counterpart.
- The EEOC says Bryce Corporation hired a woman as a senior business analyst less than a month after it hired a man into the same position for $18,000 more per year. Ten months later, when the female employee asked for a raise to eliminate the gap, Bryce allegedly refused.
- The Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires employers to pay men and women equally for doing the same work, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 forbids employment discrimination in matters of compensation on the basis of gender, the EEOC says. The federal agency is seeking back pay, liquidated, compensatory and punitive damages, along with injunctive relief.
Only 60% of employers are actively working to achieve pay equity, according to the 2019 Pay Equity Practices Survey of C-suite and Reward Leaders conducted by WorldatWork and Korn Ferry; 7% said it isn't on their radar.
But companies that are striving for this have been notably public about it. Nordstrom recently announced that it reached 100% pay equity for all of its employees, stating that it evaluated pay equity by looking at base salary and assessing whether employees with similar roles, levels of experience and performance were receiving equal pay for equal work. Starbucks, Citigroup and JPMorgan have also announced their intent to eliminate pay inequities for women and people of color.
HR can help to solve pay gaps by reviewing their organizations' pay practices, working with managers to flag disparities and conducting periodic audits. Experts also suggested that employers conduct pay audits with the help an attorney to ensure the information is privileged and not discoverable in litigation.
Using salary history as a benchmark may perpetuate wage gaps, some have said. As a result, several states and localities are outlawing pay history questions. Some of the salary history bans forbid employers from seeking information on previous wages and some of the bans go further and forbid employers from even considering prior wage history.