The fact of pay bias matters, not what motivates it

Employees suing under the Equal Pay Act who can prove that they held a substantially similar job but were paid less than a member of the opposite sex don’t have to prove that the employer intended to discriminate.

Recent case: Jana sold dental software. When she found out two men selling dental tools both made more than she did, she complained to HR.

After a restructuring left Jana with a job she didn’t want, she quit and sued, alleging Equal Pay Act violations.

The company argued the jobs weren’t comparable, but the court disagreed. The company didn’t claim it paid the men more because of experience, education or performance. It did argue that the disparity hadn’t been motivated by gender. The court said the pay difference was relevant; motivation was not. Jana’s case will continue. (Berghoff v. Patterson Dental, DC MN, 2018)