Equal Pay and Questions on Violation of Labor Law

Alva Pao-pei Alfonso
November 25, 2008 — 2,413 views  
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The United States constitution takes protection of workers very seriously. Thus, any violation of labor law is also dealt with in court. The labor laws cover a variety of workers' rights, and it would be best to familiarize yourself with them whether you are starting your own business and employing your own people, or you are an employee looking for a job.

One of the most frequent violations of labor law is the right to equal pay. The Equal Pay act protects this right. This Act was passed in 1963 aiming to address the wide disparity of wages between and women at that time. In addition, at that time, it was usually used in conjunction with the right of women from being discriminated in the workplace. In reality, this law may not only be useful for women but also for virtually anyone in the workplace, even male employees.

The Equal Pay Act requires employers to pay equal wages to men and women working in the same establishment. It does not mean that this applies only to jobs that are identical or the same as each other, but that the jobs they perform must be equal.

Employments must not pay unequal salaries to people under his/her employ if they are equal in these areas:

  • Skill - it is usually not very easy to measure skill in relation to performing a job function. Labor laws define the parameters of skill as education, ability, experience, and work-related training. The key factor here is the skills that are work-related, not just skills in a general, broad sense.
  • Effort - this refers to the amount of mental of physical exertion required for the job. An example is a sales person who works on the phone, calling customers as opposed to a sales person who goes out to knock from door to door. The effort exerted between these two jobs is not equal so it is not a violation of labor laws to pay two employees with these jobs different wages.
  • Working conditions - this refers to physical surroundings like the weather, ventilation, etc, and also the hazards related to the workplace.
  • Responsibility - this refers to the degree of accountability that is required in performing the job function.
  • Establishment - in some cases, when worker are separated by physical establishments, pay differences may be permissible.


To be able to make a claim based on this violation of the labor law, one must prove that two employees (male and female) are working in the same place, doing equal work, and receiving unequal pay. If all three conditions are met, then a case can be made against the employer.

However if the employer can legitimize the disparity between the salary of two workers, for example, by the merit of one employee's seniority over the other, then the case may become unfruitful for the complainant.

The Equal Pay Act requires that the employer not just provide equal wages between two people who are doing equal work; the benefits must also be the same. Some examples are life insurance, health insurance, retirement and pension plans, use of company-owned equipment, etc.

If you have been a victim of any violation on the labor law, including the right to equal pay, it would be best for you to consult with an attorney who is well-versed in this area. Such expertise would be invaluable to your case.

Our skilled Los Angeles employment and labor lawyers can handle issues such as labor law violations. You can visit our website to avail of our free case analysis.

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Alva Pao-pei Alfonso