In 1963, the Equal Pay Act worked to amend the Fair Labor Standards Act by eliminating the wage disparity between the genders. Signed by John F. Kennedy as part of his New Frontier Program, the Act has set a standard that is still ensuring the rights of both genders today. While this labor law is an important one, there are still odd cases of gender discrimination in the workplace.
What Rights Does The Equal Pay Act Provide?
The major right that the Equal Pay Act of 1963 provides for all U.S. citizens is the right to fair pay regardless of their gender. This law works to mandate that employees, no matter their gender, will receive the same wages or benefits for doing the same job. More simply put, you are to be paid the same wage as another employee who provides the same skills and responsibilities as you do.
What Is The Wage Gap?
Prior to this Act, women made up about a quarter of the American workforce. Generally, women were paid much less than men who provided the same skill set and took on the same responsibilities. This difference in pay for the same output is what is termed as the wage gap. While this Act has worked to set federal laws regarding wages, gender discrimination lawyers are still taking on cases of obvious wage gaps in some industries.
The Push For Equal Pay
Women seemed to get the raw end of the stick when it came to working in the early 20th century. Not only did they get paid less, some states even put restrictions on the number of hours they could work and the times they could work. During World War II, many of the male population was sent overseas to fight.
This required a ton of women to enter the workforce, mainly in factory jobs, to keep the economy running. The National War Labor Board even started to realize that women were receiving unfair gender discrimination in the workplace. This is why they personally endorsed policies that called for equal pay for women who took over replacing a male worker’s job who went off to war.
The First Legal Attempt
The Equal Pay Act of 1963 was not the first time that women tried to get equal pay in the workplace. In 1945, the U.S. Congress introduced a new act entitled the Women’s Equal Pay Act. This act designated it to be illegal to pay women less than men for work of comparable stature.
Unfortunately, this act failed to pass despite the campaigns of women’s groups and gender discrimination lawyers. It was recorded that in 1960, women were still earning only two-thirds of what men were for the same job. At this point, it seemed hopeless that women would ever be able to earn as much as men in the workplace.
Kennedy’s Presidential Commission
When John F. Kennedy took office, things were bound to change for women everywhere. His Presidential Commission on the Status Of Women was headed by some key players who helped this Act progress. These include former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, head of the Women’s Bureau of the Department of Labor Esther Peterson, and respected representatives Edith Green and Katharine St. George.
While these women pushed towards equal pay in the workplace, they still received opposition from some. The Retail Merchants Association and the Chamber Of Commerce both took a negative stance towards the Equal Pay Act. However, the women won as Congress passed the Act as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938.
Understanding The Specifics
If you speak with your gender discrimination attorney, they can inform you of just what this Act entails. For the most part, employers are unable to award unequal wages or benefits to either gender that work jobs that require equal responsibility, effort, and skill and are performed under the same working conditions. Apart from bridging the gender gap, this Act also specifies some other key elements.
It specifies when unequal pay is to be permitted in the workplace. This can happen when there is seniority, a worker’s quality of work output, their quantity of production, and merit, among others. In all of these scenarios, gender is not to play a role in being the reason for unequal pay according to any knowledgeable Los Angeles employment lawyer.
What To Do If Your Rights Are Violated?
While the Equal Pay Act of 1963 is there to prevent unequal pay based on gender discrimination, it does still happen. If you believe you’re a victim of this type of discrimination, you should contact a gender discrimination attorney immediately. Even if you’re not completely sure you have a case any good Los Angeles employment lawyer will assess your situation and give you a reasonable answer.