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Pay Equity Matters: Mind the Gap

A federal appeals court just ruled that workers don’t need to clear a heightened legal standard in order to pursue pay equity claims, setting the stage for a possible increase in the number of lawsuits seeking recovery for alleged unfair wages in 2020 and beyond. The analysis applied by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals’ December 6 decision in Lenzi v. Systemax, Inc. could be applied by other courts across the country, creating a new outlet for workers to claim pay bias.

In an amount sure to catch the attention of corporate general counsel – as well as raise their blood pressure – a class of sales representatives for an international pharmaceutical company recently settled their Equal Pay Act (EPA) and Title VII gender pay discrimination collective and class claims for four million dollars (Barrett v. Forest Laboratories, Inc., 12-cv-05224 (S.D.N.Y.)) Despite the multi-million-dollar settlement amount announced on October 6, 2017, the employer still avoided substantial risk, as the total potential recovery was estimated at over 10 million dollars.   

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