What Is the Equal Pay Act of 1963?

Signed into law by President Kennedy in 1963, the Equal Pay Act (EPA) was one of the very first U.S. laws enacted in an effort to reduce the occurrence of gender discrimination in the workplace. In particular, the EPA aimed to address the long-standing problem of gender-based wage discrimination. While, at the time the law was enacted, women comprised nearly a quarter of the workforce in America, they were paid much less than men, even when performing the same job.

What is the Equal Pay Act of 1963 (EPA)?

The Equal Pay Act 1963 (EPA) is a U.S. labor law that prohibits gender-based wage discrimination in the U.S. The EPA was an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency tasked with the enforcement of the EPA, among other employment discrimination laws.

Essentially, the EPA requires equal pay for equal work. Employers are prohibited from paying similarly situated employees in the same establishment who are performing jobs that require the same skills, responsibilities, and effort differently based on sex. Pretty much all U.S. workers are protected by the EPA. The law regulates state, local, and federal governments as well as the majority of private employers. Furthermore, the EPA includes all types of payments made to employees. This includes employees who are receiving a salary, overtime pay, bonuses, and other benefits such as stock options, life insurance, and vacation pay.

If you suspect that you have been the victim of gender-based wage discrimination, you may file a claim under the EPA. In order to be successful in bringing your claim, you must be able to show that you and an employee of a different sex are receiving different pay for performing substantially equal work that requires equal amounts of skill, effort, and responsibility. It does not matter whether or not the employer was aware of the discrepancy or whether or not the employer intentionally engaged in the gender-based wage discrimination. 

The EPA imposes strict liability on the employer so intent does not matter. In order to avoid liability, the employer must be able to show that there was a legitimate basis for the pay disparity. A legitimate basis for the pay disparity may be something involving a seniority or merit system or a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production. If there was a legitimate basis for the pay disparity, the claim will not succeed.

New York City Employment Discrimination Attorney

If you are concerned that you may be a victim of gender-based pay discrimination, contact Attorney Thomas M. Lancia for a consultation on your options. He will discuss the situation with you and explore all of your options for possible legal recourse. The EPA and other federal and state laws are in place to protect this kind of behavior from happening. Attorney Lancia will fight to enforce your legal rights to be treated fairly in the workplace. Contact Thomas M. Lancia today.