Co-Written by Outten & Golden LLP Law Clerk Ryan Elias
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.
Employers have the right to pay a man more than a woman for the same work if he had a higher salary at a previous job and There is a "reasonable policy" that justifies the company using past salaries to determine compensation. This was an opinion issued in April by the 9th Circuit in Rizo v. Yovino - a decision that threatens to severely undermine this country's progress on pay equity.
This Sunday, May 7, the world will be watching France to see if the wave of populism that led to Brexit and the election of President Donald Trump will now usher in Marine Le Pen as the new French president. Le Pen leads the country's far-right National Front party and is up against the centrist Emmanuel Macron in this Sunday's runoff poll.
Activists seized on Wells Fargo's annual shareholder meeting this week to press the bank for changes to a wide range of alleged unfair practices. As the country's fourth-largest bank, Wells faces backlash from a scandal involving up to two million accounts opened without customer authorization, as well as related allegations of employment law violations - including firing whistleblowers who refused to participate in fraudulent account openings. Activists mobilizing around the forgo Wells campaign, among others, have condemned the bank's use of forced arbitration clauses in customers' and employees' contracts, which obstruct many of these issues from coming to light because they prevent employees and consumers from banding together and taking Wells to court.
Sterling Jewelers, Inc., the parent company of Jared the Galleria of Jewelry and Kay Jewelers, is facing explosive allegations - and a national class action lawsuit - alleging its "boys club" culture discriminated against women and encouraged sexual harassment. Hundreds of women have joined the lawsuit.
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."
Even just a passing glance at news headlines over the last few months reveals a troubling pattern: companies turning a blind eye when men who are important to the bottom line are accused of sexual harassment.
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.
It seems women working in traditionally male-dominated industries, such as finance, do not just face pay inequity or discrimination and harassment - they also receive harsher, career-limiting discipline far more often than their male counterparts. That is the startling finding from a new study titled "When Harry Fired Sally: The Double Standard in Punishing Misconduct" conducted by researchers at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Stanford University, and the University of Minnesota.