Equal Pay Day is an important day to reflect on the past and recognize how much more progress needs to be made moving forward to ensure gender equality when it comes to compensation and pay in the workplace. There are still significant pay disparities and discrimination between men and women in the workplace. For example, studies show that women earn just 82 cents in comparison to a dollar for male counterparts. Even worse, this pay-gap increases for women of color, transgender women, and women of other ethnic backgrounds.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit women much harder than men. It has unfortunately furthered this gap. According to the National Women’s Law Center, 100% of the jobs lost in December belonged to women. The Law Center reported that women lost more than 150,000 jobs in December. On the other hand, men gained 16,000 jobs in the same time period. Again, African American and Latina women have been impacted more than white women. And working moms of all backgrounds have been hurt by the pandemic.
The EEOC takes pay discrimination very seriously. According to their website, the EEOC recently achieved the following results:
- EEOC won a $200,000 judgment against Baltimore City and its Enoch Pratt Free Library for paying five female librarian supervisors lower wages than a male coworker with fewer years of service and less experience. In addition to correcting the pay gap and compensating the women for lost pay, the court ordered the city to adjust the female librarians’ retirement benefits to account for the unjustified pay differential.
- EEOC settled a pay discrimination case against Aimbridge Hospitality for $400,000. The EEOC’s investigation found that the hotel operator paid a male guest service representative $15.25 per hour while paying a female front desk supervisor and female guest service representatives $11 or less per hour. The settlement requires the company to provide back pay and other damages to the affected employees and to retain an economist to conduct periodic pay equity studies.
- EEOC settled a pay discrimination case against First Metropolitan Financial Services for $100,000. The EEOC’s investigation concluded that the consumer loan and finance company paid female branch managers less than male branch managers for the same work. In addition to monetary relief, the consent decree requires the company to create an equal pay policy and end its practice of asking about applicants’ prior earning history during the hiring process.
On this Equal Pay Day, the House Oversight Committee held hearings to examine the pay gap. Soccer star, Megan Rapinoe, is expected to testify. She is an advocate for equal pay for women. In fact, she was involved in a discrimination lawsuit against U.S. Soccer. The core of the lawsuit was male U.S. soccer players are paid more than women players.
As you can see from the EEOC cases above, pay discrimination is rampant unfortunately. It is wrong AND illegal.
Please call me if you feel that you feel like you are being underpaid as a woman compared to your male counterparts, or if you face any type of discrimination at work.