Assigning temporary additional duties? Beware salary creep that could violate EPA

by on
in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

As employers continue to try doing more with less, employees sometimes find themselves handling additional duties and responsibilities. That can cause real problems if it results in female employees doing extra work, and they wind up being paid less than male co-workers.

That can happen, for example, if the additional work duties essentially upgrade her position to one held by a higher-paid man.

This case poses another scenario: A man ended up with a pay raise for extra work and the female did not.

Recent case: Patricia was an HR manager who frequently complained she wasn’t being paid as much as similarly skilled and educated male managers. Her employer ignored her complaints.

But then Patricia was temporarily assigned additional duties, with no additional pay. A male manager got similar additional assignments, but was paid at a higher pay level.

She sued, alleging that this violated the Equal Pay Act (EPA). She outlined how her job duties and responsibilities with the extra work were nearly identical to the man’s and that he was simply paid more.

That was enough for the court to order a jury trial. (Werner v. Advance Newhouse, et al., No. 1:13-CV-01259, ED CA, 2013)

Final note: Whenever you assign additional duties, be aware that doing so may mean the employee now doing more work may be functionally equal to another, higher-paid co-worker. The employee should receive additional compensation to equalize things.

Leave a Comment