Employees in the US have the right to be free of discrimination in their compensation. These protections are proscribed in Federal law and are enforced by the EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission). Protections include a wide array of compensation components, including salary, overtime, bonuses as well as numerous reimbursements and benefits.
Essentially, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 requires that equal pay be given for equal work in the same establishment. The law provides that employers may not pay women and men differently who perform essentially the same function in similar working conditions.
- Working Conditions
Pay differentials are only permitted when there is some basis – other than gender – which justifies a different pay scale. These can include seniority, merit, quality, but can not be based on gender. Additionally, there is an “affirmative defense” for these situations, meaning that it is the employer’s burden to prove that they apply.