Equal Pay for Women
I chose equal pay for my topic since I am a woman in the workplace seeking equal pay for equal work. This has been and continues to be a burning issue that concerns just about every citizen in America today. For decades women have struggled to be accepted in the workplace and to be paid the same as men. The imbalance in wages has attributed to the struggles in our community. Women, in my opinion, are the majority affected. For instance if a man and woman applied for the same position, both met the necessary requirements and were both hired, they should both receive the same wages, instead the man is paid more. In this day and age one would think that this kind of discrimination would no longer exist. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes it illegal to discriminate against a person on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin or sex. In 1963 the Equal Pay Act, a methodology for proving pay discrimination, was developed; specifically targeted at discrimination based on sex. Its purpose is to protect women and men in the workplace to keep employers from discriminating against gender. It was the first national labor standard put in place to address the practice of paying women less based on the simple fact that they are women. Many future workplace policies were built from this.
The EPA states that the jobs don’t have to be identical, but must be substantially equal in Skill, Effort, Responsibility, Working Conditions and Establishment. It is more about the content of the work and not the Title of the position. Difference in wage is allowed when it is based on seniority, merit, quantity or quality of production, or a factor other than sex. This is called “affirmative defenses” and it is up to the employer to prove that these factors apply. When it comes to correcting the differences, an employee’s pay cannot be reduced. The lower paid employee must be increased.
The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) released an analysis laying out the significant gap in wages earned by African-American women and Latinas compared to white, non-Hispanic women and men. “The November 2013 report, Closing the Wage Gap is Crucial for Women of Color and Their Families, states that while on average, women earn 77 cents for every dollar paid to men, black women earn only 64 cents per dollar, and Latinas earn 54 cents.” The Grio.com. According to this report 31% of African American and 28% of Latinos find it difficult to buy food and provide for their families.
Earlier this year, many fast food workers started striking demanding equal pay for equal work. Dollar General female store managers filed a complaint in 2006 claiming that the company paid male managers more for performing the same jobs. Another was filed in 2008 by Tina Wood, also alleging females have been discriminated against because of sex. These both violated the EPA and the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
Going over this information, I have learned that there is more are many laws set out to protect women in the workplace. I think it will continue to be an ongoing issue but also a work in progress. It is definitely getting better.
I am studying to get into the Business and Human Resources fields and this topic will definitely be one that I will surely need to address in some way. It helps me to be aware of the issues that workers face. It helps me to understand what is permissible and what is not. Because I work for the state, our salaries are public knowledge. I can at any time inquire as to what a fellow employee is being paid in the same work field as myself and compare the difference, if any, in compensation. Understanding the laws that are set to protect us in the workplace will definitely help me get to the level I want to be.