The current chaos in our lives includes a pandemic that has put over twenty million people out of work and the seemingly unceasing killing of Black people by police. But last week, we saw glimmers of hope for a better future.
"U.S.A.! Equal Pay! Equal Pay!" These chants from the crowd after the U.S. Women's National Soccer Team (USWNT) won the World Cup became the rallying cry behind its ongoing efforts to obtain pay equity for female athletes. Following the team's second straight international championship, and fourth overall, the players returned home to increased national recognition of both their sport and their struggle. Now that the women's team and the U.S. Soccer Federation (USSF) failed to resolve their pay dispute in mediation, they are now preparing their cases for the courtroom while making their respective cases in the court of public opinion.
You may know that federal law prohibits an employer or prospective employer from treating an employee or prospective employee differently because she is pregnant. But can an employer maintain a list of employees it knows to be pregnant? As with many other issues in employment law, the permissibility of such a practice likely depends on the circumstances, the intent, and the manner in which the list is maintained and distributed.
A few weeks ago, the California state legislature passed a bill that unequivocally prohibits employers from using an employee's prior salary, even in combination with legitimate factors, to justify a gender- and race-based pay differential for performing the same or similar work. The new legislation, which California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law on July 18th, reflects a welcome trend both at the federal and state levels to combat a common pay practice that has perpetuated the gender pay gap for decades: basing new employee compensation on the applicant's salary history.
In the ceaseless struggle over what is meant by "similarly situated," an Eleventh Circuit splits over whether the plaintiff - a Black woman detective with a heart condition - presented enough evidence that two white male officers who failed a physical-fitness requirement were treated better. The case also considers, for an ADA claim, whether receiving a Taser shock or pepper spraying in training was an "essential function" of the job.
By now, we are all aware of former Google employee James Damore's internally published manifesto complaining of a company culture of shaming that suppresses legitimate discussion about discrimination against women working in technology.
Alongside this summer's blockbuster movies and sleeper hits something else has been pulling focus in Hollywood: pay equity. And it's about time.
Gender equality in the workplace and eliminating the gender pay gap are hot topics in the news, with some large brands capitalizing on the discussion to attract female consumers. Using flashy ads, social media campaigns, and press releases, companies say that they're committed to making meaningful cultural changes in their workplaces.
Those of us in the LGBTQ community will never forget June 26, 2015, the day that the Supreme Court issued its decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, holding that the fundamental right to marry is guaranteed to same-sex couples by the fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution. Obergefell represented acceptance of the notion that we and our relationships deserve, as Justice Kennedy stated, "equal dignity in the eyes of the law."
Despite the more than 50 years that have passed since the enactment of the federal Equal Pay Act, based on the current rate of change it will take until 2152 - an other 135 years - for the pay gap between men and women to be eradicated in the United States. It's a sobering fact to consider on this Equal Pay Day 2017, especially in light of the new Gender Pay Gap Reporting legislation that takes effect later this week in the United Kingdom.