EEOC to Employers: Make Salaries Public Among Men and Women

In this article we discuss the bold move by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that recently proposed new rules requiring employers to make public the salaries of their employees in order to curb the pay disparity problem between men and women in the U.S.

The move is part of a broader agenda by the Obama administration to help enforce equal pay laws. If the rules take effect, the hope is more women will take action by bringing lawsuits against their employer for paying them less than their similarly situated male co-workers.

Pay disparity between men and women is a national problem, and as more women enter the workforce, or become the primary breadwinner, the economy suffers when they are subject to pay discrimination.

New York Equal Pay Laws

In New York, new laws were recently passed that update the New York State Human Rights laws and Equal Pay laws. The new laws make it possible to recover up to three times the amount in pay disparity, plus attorneys fees. Meaning, if a woman discovers she’s being paid $25,000 less than her male counterpart, she can awarded $75,000 plus the costs to hire an attorney to bring the case.

The new rules are a welcome change for women in New York who get paid, on average, 84 cents for every dollar a man makes, and even less if that woman is a minority.

“More than 50 years after pay discrimination became illegal it remains a persistent problem for too many Americans,” said EEOC Chair Jenny R. Yang “Collecting pay data is a significant step forward in addressing discriminatory pay practices. This information will assist employers in evaluating their pay practices to prevent pay discrimination and strengthen enforcement of our federal anti-discrimination laws.”

“We can’t know what we don’t know. We can’t deliver on the promise of equal pay unless we have the best, most comprehensive information about what people earn,” said Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez. “We expect that reporting this data will help employers to evaluate their own pay practices to prevent pay discrimination in their workplaces. The data collection also gives the Labor Department a more powerful tool to do its enforcement work, to ensure that federal contractors comply with fair pay laws and to root out discrimination where it does exist.”

EEOC’s current proposal is in response to recommendations from independent studies and the Commission’s work with the President’s National Equal Pay Task Force, which proposed new data collection requirements to combat pay discrimination in the workplace.

Links to the EEOC

A link to the EEOC press release is here.
A link to the EEOC fact sheet is here.


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