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Pay Equity Matters: Mind the Gap

Posts from March 2018.

The parties to a high-profile Equal Pay Act lawsuit have reached a multi-million dollar settlement that will be sure to capture the attention of employers across the country. Former partners of the law firm Chadbourne & Parke LLP (now part of Norton Rose Fulbright) resolved a pay equity lawsuit against their former law firm, but the settlement left unanswered the question about who is considered an “employee” under the Act.

As we reported last November, businesses in the UK with 250 or more employees now are required publicly to report differences in pay between men and women on their own websites and also to upload such information to a government-sponsored website. With the March 31, 2018 deadline for doing so rapidly approaching, some business—including some law firms—already have begun posting such data.

If you’re a Massachusetts employer gearing up to comply with the state equal pay law set to be in effect in just four short months, you probably have questions. The law will prohibit you from paying employees of a different gender at different rates provided they are doing “comparable work,” and will also bar inquiries about salary history. But what constitutes “comparable work”? And when comparing employee pay, what counts as “wages” under the statute?

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