EEOC Making Aggressive Moves to Investigate Pay Equity
A heads-up to employers: The U.S. Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) may soon be knocking on your door demanding to audit your pay practices. As part of a program being piloted by three of its regional offices, the EEOC is no longer waiting to receive complaints that women are not receiving equal pay to men who do the same job. Instead, the EEOC is selecting employers at will and auditing their compensation data to ferret out pay discrepancies based on gender, and then using the threat of litigation to leverage an agreement by the employer to pay back wages and change its pay practices. Those agreements may also include ongoing EEOC oversight. So far, the EEOC seems to have placed its priority on larger employers with a nationwide presence.
“Employers, especially larger employers with workers in multiple states, should consider conducting internal pay audits to identify and understand the sources of any pay inequities and minimize or eliminate the associated risks,” says Mark Girouard, a labor and employment attorney with Nilan Johnson Lewis. In addition, Girouard says that employers should be ready to move quickly to develop a plan to resolve any surprising or unfavorable results. “Companies will be in a much stronger position if they are able to show the EEOC that any pay inequities are the result of factors other than gender or, if not, that they are already being addressed,” says Girouard. He adds, “companies that fail to take a proactive look into their pay practices now risk having the EEOC involved in overseeing those practices for years to come.”
For more information about the EEOC’s enforcement program, and how to conduct an internal pay audit to avoid liability, contact Mark Girouard at 612-305-7579 or email@example.com.