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Does Equal Pay Refer to Same Work or Comparable Work

December 18, 1998
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Related Topics: Discrimination and EEOC Compliance, Wages and Hours, Featured Article
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Recently, a woman who worked at a department store alleged that she wasn’t paid the same as two male counterparts at her company. The males were assistant product managers. She was not, but had some of the same responsibilities.

An appeals court ( Sprague v. Thorn Americas Inc., CA 10, No. 96-3021) ruled that the woman’s responsibilities were "comparable" to the mens’, but that they were not "substantially equal."

The court in this case said that "comparable" work is much different than the "same" work with respect to equal pay.

Generally, an employer should base their pay on skill level required, effort, responsibility, and working conditions. Gender cannot be a factor.

Source: You and the Law, National Institute of Business Management, 1750 Old Meadow Rd, Suite 302, McLean, VA 22102, November 1998. 800/543-2055. Cost: $187/year.

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