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Rice Law Office Blog

This blog reviews important legal issues including: personal injury, employee compensation, workers compensation, discrimination and wrongful termination.

Movement on Equal Pay and the Gender Gap

Movement on Equal Pay and the Gender Gap

Today, female workers earn more than 20 cents less on every dollar of income as compared to male counterparts performing similar work. This pay gap has proven persistent despite previous policy efforts to bring gender equity to the pay scale. But, recent legislative action in California and Ohio as well as at the federal level has the potential to close the pay gap between men and women in the U.S. workforce.

The U.S. already has federal legislation, the Equal Pay Act, in place to prevent against gender based wage discrimination. While the Equal Pay Act does provide protections for workers seeking equal wages, many feel that we need to go further given the continued gap. The pending Paycheck Fairness Act could be passed this year, and would strengthen protections provided under the Equal Pay Act.

Ohio currently has a bill pending, House Bill 330, which would provide these types of protections. If passed, state and local governments would be required to determine the value of comparable work across job categories. The law in Ohio would also require companies receiving state contracts or receiving state funds to meet an even higher standard along with providing protections for employees against retaliation for discussing or sharing salary information.

California’s new Fair Pay Act may be the most expansive fair pay law in the country, and has the potential to set a new standard for other states considering this type of action. Women across the country want be paid at the same rate for the same work as their male peers, and employees and employers alike should be aware of their obligations when it comes to gender equal pay.

 Photo courtesy of Flickr user Seattle Municipal Archives under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

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OFCCP Guideline Update

OFCCP Guideline Update

This January the Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) released proposed updates for regulations on sex discrimination for federal government contractors and subcontractors. The updated guideline aims to align with changes in the law and the workplace that have taken place since the guidelines were last revised.

The OFCCP hadn’t substantively updated its Sex Discrimination Guidelines since their original adoption in 1970, resulting in a set of guidelines that was confusing and difficult to apply to the modern workplace.

Some of the shortfalls of the old guidelines include: failure to address the full range of discriminatory wage practices; failure to address accommodations for workers affected by pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions; and failure do address sex-based stereotyping related to caregiving.

The OFCCP factsheet addressing the proposed guidelines highlights some of the changes, and indicates the proposed rule would: 

Clarify that leave for childcare must be available to men on the same terms as it is available to women.Confirm that contractors must provide workplace accommodations to women affected by pregnancy, childbirth, and related medical conditions comparable to the accommodations that they provide to other workers similar in their ability or inability to work, such as workers with disabilities or occupational injuries.Confirm that contractors must provide equal benefits and equal contributions for male and female employees participating in fringe-benefit plans.Clarify that adverse treatment of employees because they do not conform to gender norms and expectations about appearance, attire, and behavior is unlawful sex discrimination.

For the full fact sheet, follow this link. If you have are a contractor or subcontractor of the Federal Government, and have any further questions regarding these changes, you may want to contact an attorney.

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