What if my employer pays a male and female employee holding the same job title and seniority different wages but they work in different places? Is this illegal?
It could be, if the same manager oversees both locations and employees transfer frequently between these locations.
My male colleague earns more than I do, and we have the same job title. Is this legal?
It could be. Under the law, employers must give men and women equal pay for equal work if (1) their jobs are substantially equal in terms of skill, effort, and responsibility, (2) the jobs are performed under similar conditions, and (3) the jobs are performed in the same establishment. If there is a difference between you and the male colleague on the basis of some factor other than sex, such as seniority, merit, or quality of production, then a pay difference may be permissible. These circumstances are often convoluted, and you should seek the advice of a qualified labor and employment lawyer.
Should I file my claim under Title VII or the Equal Pay Act?
The answer depends on your goals. There are advantages to filing under both statutes. With Title VII, you must first file a charge of discrimination with the EEOC, but you can file a lawsuit under the Equal Pay Act directly in court. If you missed the statute of limitations for filing a claim under Title VII, you may still be able to file under the Equal Pay Act, which has a two-year statute of limitations (extended to three years for willful violations). If you work for a small company with fewer than 15 employees and thus are not covered by Title VII, you can still file under the Equal Pay Act. The statutes also offer different types of damages: you can collect liquidated damages, including back pay, under the Equal Pay Act, but you won’t be entitled to the punitive damages that you might be entitled to under Title VII. There are some additional nuances between the two laws that you should discuss with experienced legal counsel. Your lawyer may advise you to file claims under both laws to preserve your claims.
My employer pays my male co-worker the same salary, but he earns more vacation than I do. We have the same job title and the same seniority. Does vacation count as pay?
The Equal Pay Act covers all forms of pay and benefits, including wages or salary, overtime pay, stock options, bonuses, vacation, holiday pay, and travel expenses and allowances.
My female co-worker complained to our boss that she was earning less money than I am for the same job. I am a male employee. As a result, he decreased my pay. Is this legal?
No: this is not a permissible way for an employer to solve the problem of unequal wages. Instead of reducing your pay, your boss must give the female employee a raise to match your compensation.