Equal pay for equal work is a basic, indisputable right. Federal law requires that no person should be paid less because of their sex. Failure to live up to that legal standard is clear discrimination.
Nonetheless, equal pay discrimination still happens all too frequently in the workplace, impacting pay, overtime, and leave, as well as other forms of compensation, such as bonuses, vacation time, and severance. Being devalued at your job hurts emotionally and psychologically, not only financially. It also undermines your professional reputation and future career opportunities. But the situation isn’t hopeless. You don’t have to put up with this treatment, and The Noble Law can help you do something about it.
We are leading authorities on enforcement of the Equal Pay Act, both as winners in the courtroom and sought-after media commentators on workplace injustice. We invite you to schedule a consultation with our accomplished Equal Pay lawyers in North Carolina and South Carolina to discuss the actions we can take on your behalf to remedy the situation.
How Can I Prove I’m Not Getting Equal Pay?
It may be clear to you and others in your workplace that you’re not getting paid as much as coworkers simply because of your gender – but how do you prove this in a way that will hold up in arbitration or in court? Our firm has the resources and skilled personnel to make sure your workplace situation is fully investigated and that all relevant evidence is collected and marshaled to support our arguments for your claim. We will help you identify, collect and utilize the key documents and testimony that will help you reach a positive outcome. We’ll use our in-depth understanding of the Equal Pay Act statutes and other relevant laws to make sure they’re being interpreted in a way that favors your claim.
Unequal pay based on gender can manifest in two ways – in wage rate or in total compensation. Wage rate refers to your base pay, or regularly paid salary. Total compensation combines wage rate with other forms of pay, such as bonuses or sales commissions.
The Noble Law’s Precedent-Setting Success in Equal Pay Litigation
The fact that the law can be applied to both wage rate and total compensation was made clear in a case brought by The Noble Law’s Katie Abernethy. Sempowich vs. Tactile Systems was decided by the Federal Appellate Court for the Fourth Circuit, which hears appeals of North Carolina and South Carolina federal lawsuits.
In the precedent-setting case, reported by Bloomberg News, the court ruled in favor of The Noble Law’s client, Tracy Sempowich. Ms. Sempowich’s base salary was set lower than that of her closest male comparator. The company argued that there was no violation of the Equal Pay Act because Ms. Sempowich’s total compensation (including sales incentive compensation and stock awards) was greater than her male comparator’s overall compensation.
The Fourth Circuit adopted the holding urged by Ms. Abernethy and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (participating as amicus): an Equal Pay Act violation occurs when an employer pays different rates of pay to men and women.
What Counts as Equal Work?
The Equal Pay Act designates “equal work” as that which requires:
- Equal skill
- Equal effort
- Equal responsibility
- Is performed under similar conditions
- Is performed in the same establishment
An employer can raise as an affirmative defense that its pay decisions were based on factors other than sex. However, the employer bears the burden of proof with respect to that defense, and our experienced attorneys can develop evidence that may undercut the company’s attempt to prove such a defense in court.
North Carolina and South Carolina Law
The federal Equal Pay Act and the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act protect employees in North Carolina and South Carolina from employment discrimination based on sex.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper signed an executive order in 2019 that prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their pay history. Women earn 83 cents for every dollar earned by men. Keeping salary information private helps stop employers from perpetuating the gender pay gap.
Chapter 13 of South Carolina’s Human Affairs Law addresses unlawful employment practices and prohibits discrimination in the workplace.
Promisingly, Equal Pay Act bills were introduced to the legislatures in North Carolina and South Carolina in 2021.
It’s good to know that the law is on your side, but the law can seem like it’s only words on paper when it’s being flagrantly ignored by employers engaged in discriminatory practices. You need a legal representative that not only knows the law but how to put it to use for your advantage. When it feels like it’s you alone having to go up against an entire company and deep-pocketed corporate lawyers, the odds of a favorable outcome can sometimes appear slim. The system feels rigged. We want to assure you that you actually have real power in this situation and we can help you harness it. The above laws can be put to work for you to get you the compensation and professional recognition you are rightfully owed.
Learn How an Equal Pay Act Attorney Can Help
Let us help you get your career back on track. Our firm is dedicated to combatting workplace inequality, and we represent clients in North Carolina and South Carolina who have encountered employment discrimination across many industries and professional settings. Please reach out today for a consultation. We’ll believe you, and we’ll fight to get you the dignity and fair pay you deserve.