Equal work deserves equal pay – A small step for one woman equals a giant leap for countless California more.
One women’s small victory has huge implications for all California Women. Early in April 2018, a local math instructor Aileen Rizo celebrated a huge victory winning her lawsuit against the Fresno County Office of Education (FCOE). She sued the FCOE because her newly hired male colleague was being paid more than she was. Rizo and her male coworker held the same job titles, and Rizo possessed more experience and education, yet she was being paid $13,000.00 less.
The Fresno County Office of Education cited a policy under the Equal Pay Act that allowed employers to base the hiring salary upon an employee’s prior salary. The school district claims that its hiring practice is gender neutral and was adopted as a mechanism for aiding their recruitment process. The school districts salary policy has impacted over 3,000 employees over the last 17 years. The school district contends that similar policies are used by numerous employers with no adverse effects on female employees.
The Equal Pay Act
The Equal Pay Act is a Federal Law that was established in 1963. This law prohibits discrimination based on gender. The purpose of the equal pay act is to ensure that women and men receive equal pay regardless of sex. Although over 50 years have passed since its establishment, women still make 80 cents for every dollar a man makes.
At the heart of this lawsuit is the question of whether the school districts hiring practices are fair. “Can an employer justify a wage differential between male and female employees by relying upon a prior salary” (Mays, 2018). According to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the answer is a resounding “No”. The court ruled that an “employer cannot pay women less than men for the same work based on their previous salaries” (Mays, 2018). The court declared that this practice allows workplaces to exploit the continuance of the wage gap, thus perpetuating the problem.
Mays, M. (2018, April 9). Fresno woman wins major court decision in her quest for equal pay for equal work. Fresno Bee. Retrieved from http://www.fresnobee.com/news/local/article208373549.html