For the first time, acting Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Chair Victoria Lipnic indicated that the agency might shelve the controversial EEO-1 pay data collection requirement.
Ever since its introduction in 2016, EEO-1 critics in Illinois and elsewhere have claimed that the requirement, which mandates that businesses with more than 100 employees submit comprehensive data about possible gender-based pay discrepancies, is overly burdensome to employers and gives no new information to pay discrimination litigants. For the longest time, the complaints fell on deaf ears. But a recent Federalist Society event, Ms. Lipnic said that “What will happen with some version, or no version, of the EEO-1 pay data is something that we will be spending a fair amount of time on.” Later, she added that there was “a real possibility” that the EEOC could abandon the rule and that only “a lot of persuading” could convince her to support such a rule.
In November 2017, the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and the National Women’s Law Center filed a federal lawsuit to force the EEOC to proceed with the rule.
Criteria to Determine Equal Pay in Chicago
The federal Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act are the two most prominent laws in this area. Title VII makes any gender-based employment discrimination illegal, and that includes compensation matter. The EPA is even more specific. It requires that Chicagoland employers pay women and men in the same workplace the same salary if they provide substantially the same work.
Even if the workers have different job titles, their positions may still be substantially similar to each other, based on:
- Skills: The benchmark is the minimum skills necessary to do the job, not a comparison of the skills that the employees possess. Relevant factors include the training, ability, experience, and education required for job performance.
- Effort: Even if the jobs have different titles, if they require substantially the same amount of physical and/or mental exertion, they are substantially similar for EPA purposes.
- Responsibility: If the two workers occupy about the same position on the corporate ladder, have approximately the same number of subordinate employees, and have the same supervisor, the positions are substantially similar.
- Working Conditions: This distinction sometimes comes up in manufacturing jobs, as employers essentially claim that some parts of the manufacturing process are more important than other parts. But if the two employees work in the same physical surroundings and face the same hazards, the positions are substantially similar.
- Establishment: The two employees must work at the same physical location, as opposed to the same company, if that company has multiple locations.
Illinois and federal equal pay laws also apply to benefits. Employers cannot make “head of household” benefits available to men but not to women. On a related note, employers cannot impose different mandatory retirement ages on men and women.
What Equal Pay Remedies Are Available in Illinois?
Pay discrimination victims in Chicago are entitled to a full range of compensatory damages, including:
- Economic losses, such as back pay or job reinstatement, and
- Noneconomic losses, such as emotional distress.
In some cases, additional punitive damages against the employer are available as well. In all cases, litigants may recover attorneys’ fees, court costs, and other litigation expenses, such as expert witness fees.
Count On an Experienced Attorney
On average, women receive about 20 percent lower compensation for the same job as their male counterparts. For a confidential consultation with an aggressive employment law attorney in Chicago, contact the Law Office of Mitchell Kline. We routinely handle cases in Cook County and nearby jurisdictions.