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Equal pay? Not if jobs aren’t really equal

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in Compensation and Benefits,Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

The Equal Pay Act (EPA) says that men and women who perform jobs requiring equal skill, effort and responsibility should be paid the same. But that doesn’t mean everyone with the same title or similar job responsibilities falls into the same pay category.

Employers can, for example, pay a male employee who has greater financial responsibilities or who handles bigger budgets more than it does a woman who holds a similar position, but manages less money.

Just make sure you can justify the difference, based on the impact on the company’s bottom line.

Recent case: Dara Shoffner started working as a senior business analyst for a biotherapeutics company, earning $95,000 per year. Several times, she asked to have her job classification upgraded and eventually earned a raise to $106,400 per year.

Still, she was unhappy and de­­manded another reclassification to a higher level. Shoffner didn’t get the reclassification and quit.

Then she sued, alleging that a male co-worker who had similar job duties earned $123,000 per year.

The company explained to the court that the man managed more than $1 billion in yearly revenue, while Shoffner had managed just $150 million. Plus, the man managed expenses for 165 employees at 41 locations, while Shoffner had managed just 20 employees at 11 locations.

The court agreed with the em­­ployer that the jobs weren’t equal under the EPA even if the job duties were similar. The difference between each employee’s impact on the company’s bottom line alone justified the salary difference. Shoffner’s claim was dismissed. (Shoffner v. Talecris Biotherapeutics, No. 5:10-CV-406, ED NC, 2012)

Final note: The EPA allows different pay based on any factor other than gender. As long as you can make a cogent argument for a pay difference, courts won’t interfere.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

William Foster May 21, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Let’s have a look at Canada shall we?

Canada performed a nation-wide audit around 2000 of job pay for men and women on the pretense that there is undeniable gender discrimination in job pay. It cost the government several billion dollars to perform the audit and when all was said and done the total “gap” identified was around 1%-2%. Very likely, the government spent more on the audit than the aggregate discrepancy between male and female wages.

What should be learned from this is that supply and demand are the ultimate regulating forces in what people are payed for their labor, services, and knowledge. Anybody with high-level skills knows this. Highly skilled people cannot just be replaced and you cannot just pay them differently based on their gender, they WILL GO SOMEWHERE ELSE. If an employer could actually hire all women and pay them 77% what they pay men, all men would be out of work.

What we have instead is more government overhead that panders to leftist victimology and requires EVEN MORE government bureaucracy and an even heavier burden on tax payers.

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