United States: An Employer's New Year Resolution: Pay Attention To Pay Equity In 2017

We are not yet through the first month of the New Year, but pay equity lawsuits have already dealt a one-two punch to employers: "one" being a million-dollar settlement between a legal and business research company and its employees, and "two" taking the form of a new lawsuit brought by a female automotive industry employee against automotive giant General Motors. Meanwhile, pay equity legislative activity has already cropped up in South Carolina (among other states), indicating that the pay equity legal boxing match between employees and employers is only in its first round.

To avoid getting knocked out in the New Year, you should resolve to pay attention to pay equity issues sooner rather than later, adjusting as necessary to adapt to the new reality we're now living in.

LexisNexis Takes 1.2M Hit To Settle Pay Equity Claims

On January 12, 2017, LexisNexis Risk Solutions announced that it would settle claims brought by the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) on behalf of 211 female employees. The USDOL alleged that the company violated federal laws that prohibit federal contractors from paying women less than men when they perform the same jobs.

According to an investigation by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), LexisNexis paid women in operational leadership roles less than their male counterparts. The OFCCP stated that even when gender-neutral factors that could account for the pay disparity were factored in, 26 female operational leaders in Boca Raton and 185 female operational leaders in Alpharetta were paid "substantially less" than men.

It is worth noting that LexisNexis disputes the OFCCP's findings and has not admitted to any liability in connection with the settlement, but that does not change the fact that it had to pay out over a million dollars to resolve the matter. The settlement also provides that LexisNexis will pay approximately $45,000 to augment salaries for some of its female operational leaders at their Boca Raton facility.

Female Clay Modeler Throws Punches At General Motors In Federal Court

Heather Anger, a female clay modeler, filed a federal lawsuit the Eastern District of Michigan on January 11, 2017. In the complaint, Anger asserts a cause of action for violations of the Equal Pay Act, claiming that General Motors (GM) engaged in gender discrimination. She alleges that the company failed to pay her as much as her similarly situated male coworkers who performed the same or similar duties. Her lawsuit also claims that male coworkers received bonuses that she did not, were afforded more consistent work assignments, and were ultimately able to move up the ranks to a lead sculptor position in less time than she did – even though she has a college degree and received honors and recognition for her work.

She claims that when she raised her allegations with Human Resources managers, they responded by telling her that was just the way things were. According to her complaint, one manager even advised her to read a novel called "Seducing the Boys Club," which instructs women how to woo their male supervisors without engaging in any sexual acts.

Anger also uses her lawsuit to take shots at the automotive industry as a whole: she claims that the automotive manufacturing industry, and clay modeling and design in particular, are permeated by an attitude that favors male workers over females. In making her argument, she cites a survey which states that only 26.7% of automotive industry jobs are occupied by females, and that the industry has been the least successful at female recruitment and retention. She also cites to a figure from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that states men occupy 73% of jobs in the industry overall.

The lawsuit does not specify the exact dollar amount that Anger seeks to recover, but she requests compensatory and punitive damages to account for lost wages, humiliation, and embarrassment. She also seeks injunctive relief to prohibit GM from engaging in any further discriminatory acts. GM has not yet responded to the complaint.

South Carolina Legislature Enters The Ring With Multiple Bills Aimed At Addressing Pay Equity

The pay equity battle isn't just taking place in the courtroom. State legislatures are also debating measures that would add pay equity restrictions to the workplace, including most recently in South Carolina. Two bills related to pay equity are currently pending in the state legislature. The South Carolina State Employee Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (H.33242) was introduced in December 2016 by Representative Stavrinakis. The bill would prohibit pay disparities between state employees of different genders who perform "the same or substantially similar work" and "under similar working conditions."

Earlier this week, on January 17, Senator McLeod introduced The South Carolina Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (S.257), which contains a similar prohibition as H.33242, but would apply to all workers and not just state employees. South Carolina is just one part of a broader national trend. New pay equity laws recently became effective in California, Maryland, and New York. A pay equity statute will go into effect in 2018 in Massachusetts, and Oregon is expected to debate the matter in its 2017 session.

Conclusion

Employers who do not pay attention to pay equity laws in their respective states risk getting "knocked out." Best practices for avoiding big settlement payouts or lawsuits include conducting regular pay audits in conjunction with counsel to ensure that employees are being fairly compensated as required by state and federal law.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions