Both federal and state laws protect against wage discrimination based on sex. The passing of Alabama’s Clarke-Figures Equal Pay Act (CFEPA) also forbids wage discrimination based on sex and race.
Do I have a claim under the federal EPA or Alabama’s CFEPA?
Under the federal Equal Pay Act, 29 U.S.C. § 206(d), a plaintiff must show the following:
- The Employer pays different wages to employees of opposite sexes;
- The compared employees perform equal work on jobs that require equal skill, effort, and responsibility; and
- The compared jobs are performed under similar working conditions.
Alabama’s CFEPA has similar requirements, except the compared employees must also have similar education and experience. Pleading race-based wage discrimination under CFEPA requires “pleading with specificity,” whereas an EPA claim must only state a “plausible” claim.
Title VII protects against discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Some claims for disparate pay may fall under the purview of Title VII, which applies if a plaintiff shows that his or her unequal wage assignment was intentional. Claims under the EPA and CFEPA need not show intent.
Are there exceptions to state and federal requirements of equal pay?
Under both the EPA and CFEPA, there is no violation if the employee’s unequal pay was justified by the use of any of the following:
- A seniority system,
- A merit system;
- A system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or
- A factor other than gender or race.
What if my company uses a pay scale to determine pay?
The use of a pay scale does not mean that no unequal pay has occurred. Our firm has experience bringing equal pay claims even where an employer uses a pay scale. In some circumstances, an employer retains enough control over pay scale assignment to defeat the “neutralizing” purpose of a pay scale.
Must I provide my wage history to my new employer?
While the federal EPA does not contain protections for employees who do not wish to disclose their pay history, Alabama’s CFEPA does. The CFEPA prohibits employers from refusing to “interview, hire, promote, or employ,” or retaliate against a prospective employee who opts out of turning over their wage history to the employer.
What should I do if I feel that my employer has violated my rights to an equal wage?
If you feel you have a claim under the EPA, CFEPA, or Title VII, contact our firm for a free evaluation. You may contact our office at (205) 588-0699 to speak with a representative or begin an online evaluation at http://www.beckumlaw.com.