get a free consultation 1-800-870-8910

Understanding & Tackling Unlawful Termination Cases Related to Equal Pay Demands

The Equal Pay Act mandates that individuals of all genders working in the same professional setting must receive equitable compensation for work of equal value. While the job roles need not be identical, they should be reasonably similar regarding their core responsibilities. Instead of relying on job titles, the Act emphasizes the significance of the actual content of the job in determining whether two positions are substantially equal.

It’s important to note that this law covers all forms of compensation, including base salaries, overtime pay, bonuses, stock options, profit-sharing and bonus schemes, life insurance, vacation and holiday pay, allowances such as cleaning or gasoline, hotel accommodations, reimbursement for travel expenses, and various other benefits.

Crucially, if there is a wage disparity between male and female employees, employers are not permitted to rectify the situation by reducing the wages of either gender to achieve parity. In the event of a suspected violation of the Equal Pay Act (EPA), individuals can pursue legal action directly in court without filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) beforehand.

Lawyer are currently providing legal advice to clients.

When Should You Make An Equal Pay Demand?

The Equality Act of 2010 unequivocally declares that men and women are entitled to equal compensation for equivalent work. While the focus often centers on pay differentials, this principle of equality extends its reach to encompass all facets of employment contract terms.

Therefore, if you find yourself in a situation where your earnings are less than those of a colleague of the opposite gender performing identical job duties, you may have the opportunity to initiate an equal pay claim or engage in negotiations for a pay increase, along with retroactive payment for the duration during which you were paid less than your counterparts. To substantiate your case, you must be able to demonstrate the following criteria:

  • You receive lower compensation than an individual of the opposite sex (the “comparator”).
  • The comparator performs work of a “similar kind” to yours.
  • There exists no justifiable rationale for the pay differential aside from gender differences.

Crucially, the comparator must be a tangible coworker employed by the same organization, working at a comparable location where employees are subject to the same terms and conditions as your workplace. That ensures the comparison is valid and that any discrepancies in compensation aren’t attributed to extraneous factors but are indeed indicative of a gender-based pay inequity.

Examining Compensation Disparities

When a female employee asserts her right to equal pay, it necessitates a comparison of her compensation with that of a male colleague whom she believes is engaged in similar work but is receiving higher remuneration, commonly referred to as a ‘comparator.’

The female employee enjoys the prerogative to choose the specific male colleague for comparison, and she can even opt to pursue equal pay claims against multiple comparators simultaneously. Importantly, her employer is not permitted to influence her selection of a comparator, and the chosen comparator need not provide consent or approval to be identified in the equal pay claim. A woman seeking to identify a suitable comparator has several avenues at her disposal, which include:

  • Drawing upon her knowledge and experience of the tasks performed by her male coworkers.
  • Seeking counsel and guidance from her trade union representative.
  • Utilizing information obtained through her organization’s internal grievance procedure.
  • Initiating an application to the employment tribunal to secure the disclosure or discovery of pertinent information, including details concerning the selected comparator.

The potential comparators themselves can encompass various scenarios, including:

  • An individual with whom she is presently working.
  • Her predecessor is in the same job, regardless of the time that has elapsed since he held the position. However, the comparison will be limited to the remuneration he received at the termination of his employment and will not factor in any subsequent salary increments he might have received if his tenure had continued.
  • A colleague with whom she was employed within the same organization before a business sale, particularly if the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 are applicable.

The Equality Act of 2010 enforces strict limitations on pay secrecy clauses within employment contracts. Any clause obstructing an employee from discussing or seeking compensation information to identify disparities linked to protected characteristics is deemed unenforceable. This provision ensures transparency and safeguards all employees’ right to wage equality.

Exceptions to Equal Pay for Equal Work

Even when employees of different genders are engaged in comparable job roles, they can receive varying pay rates under specific circumstances. These exceptions are defined as follows:

1. Seniority System:

A seniority system is typically where an employee’s rights and compensation increase by their length of service with their employer. When two employees perform the same work, the employer may pay an employee with greater seniority a higher wage than another employee of a different gender with less seniority as long as the discrepancy in pay is rooted in a bona fide seniority system.

2. Merit System:

A merit system is generally one in which employees are compensated based on an evaluation of their job performance. When two employees carry out identical tasks, an employer may offer higher pay to one employee compared to another of a different gender, provided that the pay disparity results from a legitimate merit-based system.

3. System Measuring Earnings by Production Quantity or Quality:

In cases where two employees are engaged in the same job, an employer can differentiate pay rates, paying one employee more than another of a different gender if the variation in compensation is attributed to a system that evaluates earnings based on the quantity or quality of production.

It’s essential to recognize that these exceptions permit differences in pay as long as they are not grounded in gender-based discrimination. In essence, pay disparities can be justified under these systems if they are based on objective and non-discriminatory criteria such as seniority, job performance, or production output.

Final Word

Equal pay demands are essential to workplace equality, ensuring that individuals are fairly compensated for their work regardless of gender. If you ever face unlawful termination due to asserting your rights regarding equal pay, it’s crucial to seek legal assistance promptly.

For expert guidance and legal support in such situations, contact The Bourassa Law Group. With their expertise in employment law, they can provide the necessary counsel and representation to protect your rights and seek justice in cases of wrongful termination. Your pursuit of equal pay should not come at the cost of your job, and you can sue your employer if9 justice prevails in your workplace.

Related Posts

Free Case Evaluation

The evaluation is FREE! You do not have to pay anything to have an attorney evaluate your case.