Q. Can we reduce the wage rates of male employees in order to avoid EPA (Equal Pay Act) violations? — R.T., Illinois
A. No. Wage differentials based on sex must be eliminated by raising the pay of lower-rated employees, not by reducing the pay of the higher-rated employee. The Equal Pay Act of 1963 also prohibits an employer from transferring higher-paid workers to lower-paid positions and merely permitting lower-paid workers to transfer into the higher-paid classification as vacancies occur.
Note: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also makes it illegal to discriminate based on sex in pay and benefits. Therefore, someone who has an Equal Pay Act claim may also have a claim under Title VII.