Wage Gap Between Men and Women Still Exists

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Wage Gap Between Men and Women Still Exists


Although some progress has been achieved over the past 50 years, there is still a wage gap between men and women; gender-based pay discrimination is an enforcement priority for EEOC.


It has been 50 years since President John F. Kennedy signed the Equal Pay Act into law. There is no doubt that women’s pay has risen significantly, but women salaries still lags behind that of men, making the elimination of gender-based pay discrimination a priority for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC.)   The EEOC took over enforcement of the Equal Pay Act from the Department of Labor in 1978, and has recently reaffirmed commitment to equal pay for equal pay recently.


EEOC Chair Jacqueline A. Berrien said in a statement released recently, “Although the progress of the last 50 years is undeniable, pay discrimination remains a pressing problem for women in America,” today. “In 2012 women generally earned 77 percent of men’s wages, and for African American women and Latinas, the number is even lower. At the rate at which we are progressing the gender pay gap will not close until 2057.”


The EEOC´s Strategic Enforcement Plan for 2013-2016 featured enforcement of equal pay laws as one of its six more important priorities.  The EEOC is an important component of the National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, initiated by President Obama to “improve compliance, public education, and enforcement of equal pay laws.” As part of the Task Force, the EEOC is working to improve interagency coordination and strengthen enforcement of wage discrimination laws, and to increase outreach, education and public awareness concerning compensation discrimination.


The White House Task Force recently released a document titled: “Fifty Years after the Equal Pay Act” as well as a website with information with regard to equal pay; the website also offers links to the websites of EEOC and other government agencies which have enforcement authority over our nation’s equal pay laws.


The National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force was established in January 2010 through the end of March 2013 and since then the EEOC has obtained over $78 million in monetary relief for victims of sex-based wage discrimination. The EEOC received almost 20,000 wage discrimination complaints during the same period.  Approximately, 9,000 or 45 percent were alleged wage discrimination on the basis of sex. It is generally believed that these numbers fail to fully convey the extent of the pay discrimination problem. In reality, few people know exactly what a co-workers earns.  Therefore, most people do not know when they are victims of discrimination in the workplace. This is why the EEOC is utilizing its directed investigation authority under the Equal Pay Act to pursue evidence of pay discrimination as appropriate.


To date, the EEOC has filed a number of law suits challenging pay discrimination. Some examples include EEOC v. Forrest City Grocery (settled in 2011 for $125,000); EEOC v. National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak) (settled for $171,483 in 2011);EEOC v. Hyundai Ideal Electric Company (settled for $188,000 in 2011); and EEOC v. Texas Department of Rural Affairs (joint action with the Department of Justice, settled for $175,000 in 2012).


Keep in mind that EEOC enforces the national employment discrimination laws that there to help you.

If you feel that you are being discriminated with respect to your pay, you need to contact an attorney immediately. We at Regan Law PLC are experienced and knowledgeable in this area and stand ready to help you.

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More information about the EEOC can be found at www.eeoc.gov.


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