On July 15, 2015, the Erie County Industrial Development Agency (“ECIDA”) adopted a new pay equity policy. The policy applies to any IDA project established or induced on or after September 1, 2015. Companies receiving tax breaks and other incentives from the ECIDA must certify, and if audited, demonstrate that they provide their male and female employees equal pay for equal work.
Pay inequality has been illegal for years. The new ECIDA policy reinforces existing federal and state laws prohibiting wage discrimination by requiring an IDA applicant to certify that the company is in compliance with all applicable equal pay laws, including the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Federal Executive Order 11246 of September 24, 1965, and New York State Labor Law Section 194.
The policy further requires a company to disclose (1) whether it has been the subject of an adverse finding under any equal pay law during the previous five years, and (2) any pending equal pay claims at the time of the application and throughout the term of the incentive agreement. Those companies with adverse findings in the previous five years are ineligible for ECIDA benefits, and those subject to an adverse finding during the pendency of the incentive agreement may be subject to termination and/or recapture of ECIDA benefits. Pending or past equal pay claims that have not resulted in an adverse finding are not an automatic bar to ECIDA benefits.
The ECIDA appointed the Erie County Division of Equal Employment Opportunity (“Erie County EEO”) with the task of performing random compliance audits of those companies receiving ECIDA benefits. The Erie County EEO, in connection with the ECIDA, will notify companies of their selection for an audit and will review the companies’ payroll information. If the Erie County EEO suspects a violation of the ECIDA’s pay equality policy, it will refer the matter back to the ECIDA, which will follow its normal due process and recapture policies or, if necessary, refer the matter for investigation to the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the New York State Department of Labor or the New York State Division of Human Rights.