On March 8, 2019, all 28 players on the women’s national team, initiated a proposed class and collective action in the United States District Court for the Central District of California against the United States Soccer Federation alleging discrimination based on sex in violation of the Equal Pay Act (“EPA”) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended (“Title VII”). Notably, the players chose to file suit on International Women’s Day, which is intended to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women, as well as to raise awareness of gender equality issues. Their fight continues as they defend their title as world champions at the World Cup. Continue reading
On June 11, 2019, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the Clark-Figures Equal Pay Act (the “Alabama EPA”). The Alabama EPA provides that it shall be unlawful for an employer to “pay any of its employees at wage rates less than those paid to employees of another sex or race for equal work within the same establishment on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and performance under similar working conditions.” The Alabama EPA takes effect September 1, 2019. Previously, employers and employees in Alabama were subject to the federal Equal Pay Act (the “EPA”). Similar to the EPA, no discriminatory intent has to be proven under the Alabama EPA, and an employee can recover the wage differential plus interest. In contrast to the EPA, the Alabama EPA does not permit recovery of liquidated damages (double the amount of the wage differential) or attorneys’ fees. Also in contrast to the EPA, the Alabama EPA requires parity in wages based on race as well as sex. The Alabama EPA specifically permits wage differentials resulting from a merit system, a seniority system, or a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production. An employer also may raise a defense that the wage differential was based on a factor other than sex or race, although the final version of the Alabama EPA does not provide any examples of such factors. Continue reading
Executive Summary: Earlier this week, in Lewis v. Governor of Alabama, 2018 U.S. App. LEXIS 20635, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals resurrected a lawsuit alleging Alabama’s predominantly-white state legislature discriminated against the workers in Birmingham, a predominantly black city, by overriding the city’s ordinance to increase the city’s minimum wage. While changes to the minimum wage often elicit strong opinions from employers, workers, and other interested parties, few laws have engendered the passions and inspired the racially-charged allegations presented in Lewis. As discussed below, in light of the Eleventh Circuit’s recent opinion, employers and workers in Birmingham must continue to wait to see if the city’s increased minimum wage will ever take effect.