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Pay Equity Matters: Mind the Gap

Posts from November 2019.

In an announcement sure to please federal contractors, the OFCCP announced Friday that it would not use any of the pay data gathered by the EEOC in this year’s expanded collection efforts for enforcement purposes. The November 22 release is just the latest example of the federal government’s taking active steps to diminish the pay data collection requirements forced on the administration following a surprise court ruling in March.

Employers may have to prepare for an entirely new pay data reporting requirement to be revealed in the new year, but you can expect that any such proposal would not be as cumbersome or invasive as the current system. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced yesterday during the release of the Fall Regulatory Agenda that it is considering initiating a rulemaking process that “may include a new reporting requirement by which employers would submit pay data or related information as reasonable, necessary, or appropriate for the enforcement and the Equal Pay Act.” But all signals point to this next version of pay data collection – which could be revealed in September 2020 – being more palatable to employers.

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives recently introduced a bill that would amend the commonwealth’s Equal Pay Law by requiring employers to provide pay transparency to applicants and employees alike, bringing Pennsylvania to the forefront of the pay equity discussion. While the measure has a long way before becoming law, it is well worth keeping an eye on this development – not only those with business in Pennsylvania, but those across the country who may find that their local jurisdiction might one day follow its lead.

The national conversation around issues of gender equality and the demands for pay equity is driving rapid changes in the law. Many states – including New York, California, Massachusetts, Oregon and New Jersey – have passed robust legislation in an attempt to close the pay gap between men and women in the workplace. At the same time, employers are grappling with an uptick in claims alleging sexual harassment and discrimination sparked by the #metoo movement.

A California federal judge today granted the U.S. Women’s National Team an early victory in their pay equity battle against the U.S. Soccer Federation (the Federation), granting class certification to a group of players who want to collectively assert their gender-related legal claims. While Judge Gary Klausner’s order is just the first of several hurdles the women’s team will have to overcome in order to successfully challenge the pay structure that they allege favor the men’s team, it is an important milestone in any class action.

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