Federal Employment Law - The Equal Pay Act of 1963

Day 3

Hi! Our topic is connected with gender discrimination that we talked about yesterday.

Today’s discussion will focus on the Equal Pay Act of 1963. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, this act “protects men and women who perform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination.”

Women’s transition from housewives to working professionals redefined their role in our society. Women have proven that they also have what it takes to work and make a living. They are no longer dependent to men.

Since women are already an integral part of the workforce, they are also covered by a law that protects them from discrimination.

Under the Equal Pay Act, male and female employees in the same job should receive the same salary. A certain job demands a certain level of proficiency, and as long as the job requirements are met, then one’s sex should not matter.

It simply doesn’t make any sense to give a lower salary to a woman who performs similar duties as a man. Picture this: How fair it is for a female construction worker, who also toils under the heat of the sun, who is exposed to the same danger, to get a lesser pay compared to her male co-workers?

Even a child knows that isn’t fair. Thanks to the Equal Pay Act, justice will be served if something “unfair” happens.

However, there are some provisions. Under these terms, both sexes are on equal footing.

First, seniority system. A newly-employed female is getting a lower salary compared to her male colleague who has been with the company for two years. Is that wage discrimination?

Definitely not. If the company raises the salaries of employees who has stayed for quite some time, then that is allowed. The woman will get her raise eventually.

Second, merit system. Appraisals are common in companies, depending on the employees’ performance. Normally, after six months, employees will be evaluated, and their salaries will improve accordingly.

Third, systems measuring quantity or quality of production. Consider sales agents. If salary is based on number of products sold, then differences in salaries are expected.

Under the law, it is illegal for labor unions to influence companies to change the salaries of their employees on the basis of sex. That would result in outright discrimination.

Make sure you check your mail tomorrow for the third federal law: Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA)


For further reading, visit the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission website

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