Equal Pay: The Next Big Issue
The last two years have seen rapid changes in equal pay legislation, and the nation-wide trend of enacting and amending equal pay legislation to provide greater protection for employees, and impose increased obligations on employers, is showing no signs of slowing. With equal pay legislation trending across the country, employers can expect to see a rise in pay discrimination claims.
Much of the equal pay legislation enacted in various states has somewhat mirrored the federal Equal Pay Act of 1963, prohibiting wage discrimination on the basis of sex, but including permissible bases for pay differentials including seniority systems, merit systems, systems measuring earnings by quantity or quality of production, or a pay differential based on any other factor other than sex. Some states have gone further, however, and included in their equal pay legislation bans on pay history inquiries or requirements that certain employers conduct regular pay equity studies.
Although North Carolina has not enacted equal pay legislation, North Carolina employers are subject to federal law, and may also see an increase in equal pay claims as more legislation is enacted nationwide. To avoid risk, employers should consider conducting internal compensation audits, analyzing job descriptions, factors that influence pay, and developing a plan to remedy any differentials unless the employer can articulate a permissible basis under the Equal Pay Act for the differential. Employers conducting internal compensation audits should always create an internal procedure for confidentiality and partner with an attorney to maintain that confidentiality. Call the Teague Campbell Employment Law team for additional guidance on getting ahead of this next big issue.