Sex Discrimination And Equal Pay:  New EEOC Lawsuits

The EEOC has six national priorities in its Strategic Enforcement Plan (“SEP”) – and one of them is the enforcement of federal laws prohibiting pay discrimination between men and women.

Equality, Business, Man, Woman, Equal

Two new EEOC suits illustrate the federal laws to which the EEOC is referring.

Title VII

The EEOC just sued a food distributor with warehouses in Cleveland and Detroit because it “intentionally rejected” women for entry-level warehouse jobs because of their sex, in violation of Title VII.  A regional director of the EEOC correctly said that “Federal law prohibits the exclusion of women from employment opportunities because of sex.”

The Equal Pay Act

The EEOC also just sued an Illinois poultry processor operating a Mississippi plant for paying a woman employee a lower rate and giving her a greater workload than it gave to her male co-worker with the same title and position. This, in violation of both the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (“EPA”), “which prohibits sex-based wage differentials for work requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility performed under the same or similar working conditions,” and Title VII.

Another EEOC spokesperson said that “Sadly, more than 50 years after Congress acted to make workplace discrimination against women illegal, including unequal pay, some employers continue these practices.”

Takeaway:  Very simple today – comply with the statutes and don’t have sex-based wage differentials for work requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility performed under the same or similar working conditions

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Richard Cohen

Richard Cohen

Richard B. Cohen is a partner in the New York City office of FisherBroyles, LLP, a national law firm. Richard Cohen has litigated and arbitrated complex corporate, commercial and employment disputes for more than 35 years, and is a trusted advisor to business owners and in-house counsel both in the United States and internationally. His clients have included Fortune 100 companies, domestic and foreign commercial and investment banks, Pacific-rim corporations and real estate development companies, as well as start-up businesses throughout the United States. Email Richard at [email protected]