This week marks the 50th anniversary of the passage of the EPA, a landmark act that has been an effective tool for working women in asserting their equality in the workplace. The Act’s provisions have been particularly invaluable in industries where women have been historically under compensated in relation to their male co-workers, like finance.
The Progress We’ve Made and the Long Road Still Ahead
According to the EPA, employers cannot pay a female employee less than a male employee if both perform comparable job duties and have similar education and training. Provisions within the EPA also protect employees from employer retaliation if the employee makes a discrimination complaint or testifies in a hearing against the employer.
Although our society has made great strides toward gender equality, many American women still suffer the adverse effects of sex-based wage discrimination. Reliable sources still report that women are paid only 77 cents for every dollar that a similarly employed male is paid. On average, men’s median salaries are 23% percent higher than women’s salaries. In my experience as an employment attorney, I have had some jaw dropping conversations with potential clients which confirm, and often surpass, the bias present in theses statistics. It’s not uncommon for a women analyst, trader, junior investment banker to come forward with a bonus dispute only to admit – often with great shame – that they make as little as one-third, sometimes one-quarter, of what other men in identical positions with equal or lesser credentials and experience make. While these figures may seem disheartening, the EPA continues to serve as one of the most important statutes used by employment attorneys in fighting discrimination.
At Stoll, Glickman & Bellina, we realize that many women will face a disadvantage in the workplace simply because of their chosen profession’s historical connection to gender bias. Nowhere is this more true than in the financial industry, where insiders get ahead by relying on exclusionary networks of men. If you are a working woman in NYC or Brooklyn and have reason to believe that you are being undercompensated, contact an attorney who can assist you in asserting your fundamental legal rights.