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 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
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). 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 & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd 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 or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.