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