As a part of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the federal government under President Kennedy moved to increase awareness of pay discrimination between men and women by passing a law that would make wage disparagement illegal. Known as the Equal Pay Act, legislation was passed that forced employers to pay according to equal standards or along lines that could legitimately determine wages.
Certain pay determiners were left unaffected by the Equal Pay Act, as these forms of organizing wages are widely considered fair and ethical means to grant certain employees a higher payment than others. In particular, seniority remains protected under the Equal Pay Act, as even workers in the same positions may be paid differently according to how long those employees have worked at that company. In addition to seniority, issues such as employee merit, meeting quotas, and creating more effective products are all protected means of awarding higher wages.
In particular, this piece of legislation was originally intended to address the gross inequality in wages, especially in areas of basic labor where workers share skill equality. As the law began to prove effective, additional areas of labor were eventually held accountable, as white collar and executive positions now hold the same laws regarding equal pay. In 1972, the Educational Amendment achieved the goal of applying the Equal Pay Act to all professions, including those who are not technically covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act.
With this law in place, there has been a noticeable increase in pay equality between men and women. However, despite these improvements, there remains a notable minority that is not receiving equal pay for their job. Although lawmakers have pushed to improve conditions towards basic pay equality, one of the primary weapons for employees is still to work through the courts. For more information about legal defense of fair wages, contact an employment lawyer.