Equal Pay Act – Case Law Update

On December 3, 2021, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals reaffirmed the Equal Pay Act applied when a female employee was paid less than her male counterparts. A lower court ruled the female’s claims were not valid, because even though her salary was lower than a male coworker, she had earned more commission than him and had a higher total compensation.

The Fourth Circuit found this to be a misreading of the Equal Pay Act.  The Equal Pay Act forbids employers from paying female employees less than their male counterparts when doing equal work. The court agreed, noting that if total compensation was the determining factor, an employer could pay a woman half as much as a man and require her to work twice as long to make the same amount.

If you find yourself working for an employer who requires you to work equally as hard as your male co-workers but fails to pay you an equal pay rate, you may have a claim. The law forbids discrimination based on sex for “terms of employment.”  If you feel you are not being paid equally for your work, call Ferrell & Brown for a free consultation.

Source:  Sempowich v. Tactile Systems Technology, Inc., No. 20-2245 (4th Cir. Dec. 3, 2021).

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