Who Is Covered by the Equal Pay Act?


In 2020, women’s earnings were only 84 percent of men’s earnings. Women would have needed to work an extra 42 days in the year to earn the equivalent amount as men. These findings from the Pew Research Center indicate that gender discrimination is still a very real problem in U.S. workplaces. If you are being treated unfairly at work because of your gender, there are laws in place to protect you. You may be entitled to compensation for your losses.

The Equal Pay Act

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) is a federal law that requires employers to give men and women equal pay for equal work. All forms of pay are covered under the law, including salary, wages, bonuses, overtime pay, and benefits such as life insurance and vacation time. Male and female workers in all industries are covered by the EPA, whether they are government or private sector employees.

There are two main components to the EPA that you must understand if you are thinking about filing a claim:

  1. Equal work – “Equal” work under the EPA does not require that two jobs are identical. Rather they must be equal according to the following factors:
  • Skill –The ability, experience, education, and training required to perform the job
  • Effort– The physical and mental labor required for the job
  • Responsibility –The tasks and accountability involved in the job
  • Working conditions – The physical surroundings and hazards associated with the job
  • Establishment – The EPA only applies to jobs within the same organization and physical place of business
  1. Equal pay – Under the EPA, “equal” pay requires that an employer pay the same rate to employees for work that is considered equal. The same rate of pay does not necessarily mean the same amount of total compensation, however. In jobs that pay based on productivity or sales, two employees doing equal work may earn different amounts based on the work performed. The EPA still applies in these types of cases. However, if an employee earns higher compensation based on a merit or seniority system, the EPA may not apply.

Determining if two jobs are “equal” and whether or not employees are entitled to equal pay can be complicated. The law also allows room for interpretation. An experienced Georgia employment lawyer can assess your unique case and help you determine whether you have substantive grounds for a claim.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act

If your case involves discrimination related to other areas of employment besides wages, you will need to file a lawsuit under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Besides prohibiting wage discrimination between genders, Title VII also prohibits all forms of discrimination related to other areas of employment, such as hiring, termination, and promotion. Title VII also allows you to claim compensation for pain and suffering caused by discrimination. Therefore, even if your case only relates to unequal pay, you may receive a better outcome by filing your claim under Title VII instead of the EPA.

How the Vaughn Law Firm Can Help

The employment attorneys at the Vaughn Law Firm have extensive experience in and knowledge about representing workers in employment claims. Our firm also has a track record of successful outcomes. Our skilled and compassionate lawyers will take the time to fully understand and assess your individual case so they can advise you on your rights and options for filing a lawsuit. We know that your job is vital to your and your family’s wellbeing and future. Allow us to advocate for you and help you obtain the relief you need. Call us at 1-877-615-9495 to schedule your free consultation today.