The Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from compensating certain protected classes at a rate less than other employees for work requiring substantially similar knowledge, skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions. Protected classes listed in the Act include race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, marital status, veteran status, disability, and age. The Act provides that pay differences may be lawful only if based on certain factors, including a seniority system, a merit system, measurable differences in quality or quantity of work, work locations, travel, education, training, or experience. Employees who believe they have been discriminated against on the basis of unequal pay in violation of the Equal Pay Act will have a private right of action beginning January 1, 2019.
Additionally, the Act impacts hiring practices as it prohibits employers from seeking information about an applicant’s prior compensation or setting compensation based on the applicant’s past or current compensation levels. This part of the Act is scheduled to take effect on September 9, 2017, at which point BOLI will have the authority to enforce it and issue civil fines. On January 1, 2024, employees will have a right of private action against prospective employers if asked about pay history.
The Equal Pay Act passed the legislature with broad bipartisan support and is seen by many as a positive step toward restoring pay equality. It will, however, present compliance challenges for employers without systematic processes in place for hiring, promoting, and paying employees. The Act also increases the importance of carefully documenting employee performance and pay considerations and monitoring how those decisions could be viewed in light of other workers’ compensation packages. Because the Act provides the broadest protections in the nation for applicants and employees, Oregon employers should take action now to ensure compliance and to avoid potential fines, lawsuits, and class action claims.
The Equal Pay Act and practical steps for protecting your business from potential exposure will be specifically addressed at our July 11 Barran Liebman Breakfast Seminar where Anthony Kuchulis will discuss this and other key employment laws from Oregon’s 2017 legislative session. Space is limited and those interested are encouraged to register here now.
Electronic Alerts are written by Barran Liebman attorneys for their clients and friends. Alerts are not intended as legal advice, but as employment law, labor law, and employee benefits announcements. If this has been forwarded to you, and you would like to begin receiving Electronic Alerts directly, please email or call Traci Ray at 503-276-2115. Copyright ©2017 by Barran Liebman LLP.
Las Alertas electrónicas son escritas por abogados de Barran Liebman para sus clientes y amigos. Las Alertas no son proveídas como asesoramiento legal, sino solo como anuncios de leyes de empleo, leyes laborales y beneficios de empleo. Si esto ha sido remetido a usted y quisieras empezar a recibir las Alertas directamente, por favor mándanos un correo electrónico o llama a Traci Ray al 503-276-2115. Derechos de autor ©2017 por Barran Liebman LLP.