Commission Forms Equal Pay Task Force, Expands Web Site To Mark Equal Pay Day
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today announced the formation of an internal Equal Pay Task Force and the addition of a new section on its Internet web site on employment discrimination in compensation. The purpose of the new initiatives is to enhance agency enforcement and public understanding of wage discrimination in the workplace.
"As the nation observes Equal Pay Day, we must remain vigilant in our efforts to ensure that equal pay for equal work is a reality, not just a rallying cry, in the 21st Century," said EEOC Chairwoman Ida L. Castro. "The Commission is committed to promoting equal pay and eliminating discrimination in compensation not only by administrative and judicial action, but also through outreach, education, and technical assistance to encourage voluntary compliance."
Ms. Castro was at the White House today to take part in an event highlighting Equal Pay Day which symbolizes the additional days women must work to match the wages earned by men in the previous calendar year. "It is appalling that 37 years after the passage of the Equal Pay Act women still earn only about 75 cents for every dollar earned by men," she said. "What's even more disturbing is that minority women make even less. Clearly, this is unacceptable."
During the event, President Clinton repeated his call for Congress to fund an Equal Pay Initiative contained in the Administration's budget request for Fiscal Year 2001. The initiative would allocate $10 million to the EEOC to provide, for the first time ever, training and technical assistance to approximately 3,000 employers on how to comply with equal pay requirements; develop public service announcements to educate employees and employers on their rights and responsibilities under equal pay laws; and train over 1,000 EEOC enforcement staff in identifying and responding to wage bias, the first such EEOC training since the agency assumed responsibility for the Equal Pay Act in 1978.
Despite limited resources in the current fiscal year, the Commission will initiate an internal Equal Pay Task Force to provide assistance to field enforcement staff in their development of cases involving equal pay and employment discrimination in compensation.
The task force will provide direct assistance to investigative staff in the identification of pay issues when a charge is initially filed, in the development of appropriate data requests, and in the ongoing analysis of the charge; refine appropriate data techniques for the development of compelling statistical evidence; and prepare in-depth statistical analyses of reports for individual investigations.
In Fiscal Year 1999 (Oct. 1, 1998 - September 30, 1999), the EEOC received 1,044 charges alleging violations of the Equal Pay Act, which prohibits sex-based wage discrimination in employment. From FY 1992 through FY 1999, the agency received a total of 9,496 EPA charges.
EEOC's National Enforcement Plan identifies broad based employment practices involving pay, "glass ceiling" cases, and claims under the Equal Pay Act as being strategic litigation priorities for the Commission. In the past two weeks, the Commission announced a $100,000 settlement of an equal pay lawsuit on behalf of a female professor who earned less than her male colleagues for doing essentially the same work, and a $45,000 settlement of a wage bias suit against the Baltimore Cable Access Corporation for firing its first female executive director after she complained about being paid significantly less than her male counterparts in the industry.
In addition to beefing up equal pay enforcement, the EEOC has expanded its Internet web site to include a section with comprehensive information on wage bias and discrimination in compensation. "This new addition to our web site will serve as a one-stop online resource for public information on the equal pay laws," said Ms. Castro. "It contains valuable information that will foster greater awareness of wage bias among employers and employees, as well as the general public."
The new section, as well as other information about the Commission, can be found on the agency's Internet home page at www.eeoc.gov by selecting "Equal Pay and Compensation Discrimination." Included in the section is a fact sheet on compensation discrimination, charge statistics and summaries of enforcement activity, agency regulations and guidance, recent agreements between the EEOC and the U.S. Department of Labor, and helpful links to other government web sites.
The rights of employees to be free from discrimination in their compensation is protected under several federal laws, including the following enforced by the EEOC: the Equal Pay Act of 1963, which protects men and women who preform substantially equal work in the same establishment from sex-based wage discrimination; Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; the ADEA, which protects workers 40 years of age and older; and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against qualified individuals with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments. The EEOC also enforces prohibitions against discrimination affecting persons with disabilities in the federal government and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.
This page was last modified on May 11, 2000.
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