Every Olympic year, there is controversy over equal opportunity as it relates to pay for various United States teams. In 2016, the U.S. Women’s Soccer Team filed an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claim charging the U.S. Soccer Federation with violations of the Equal Pay Act. Their complaint stated that they received only $2 million while winning the entire 2015 World Cup Competition and the men’s team was paid $9 million despite losing in the first round. The defense by the Federation’s President was that over a four-year world cup cycle the men’s team generates more revenue than the women’s team. The case was finally settled in 2022, with U.S. Soccer guaranteeing equal pay for its men's and women's teams

This case brings up the issue of equal pay as it relates to employment law. The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women be given equal pay for equal work in the same establishment. The jobs need not be identical but they must be substantially equal. Certain factors that come into play when determining pay are skill, effort, responsibility, working conditions, and the entire business or enterprise.

What Kentucky Employers Need to Know About Equal Pay Act

There are actually five major federal laws addressing equal pay and compensation, including the Equal Pay Act. The Act applies mainly to employers with 15 or more employees.

Every employer should review their pay practices in light of the Equal Pay Act and other federal, state, and local laws. Any discrepancy should be corrected. Employers should do the following:

  1. Understand the laws.
  2. Institute a policy prohibiting wage discrimination.
  3. Make decisions based on skill and performance.
  4. Train supervisors and managers to avoid wage discrimination.
  5. Document guidelines and requirements for salaries and bonuses.
  6. Be aware of state and local laws prohibiting wage discrimination.
  7. Document and be ready to defend all employment decisions.
  8. Audit pay practices.
  9. Aim to hire an integrated and diverse workforce.
  10. Provide timely and effective performance evaluations.
  11. Do not prohibit employees from discussing wages.

Pay differentials can be justified and permitted when they are based on seniority, merit, quantity or quality of production, or any factor other than sex. Finally, it should be noted that it is unlawful to retaliate against any individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on compensation.

The business attorneys at Skeeters, Bennett, Wilson & Humphrey want to make sure you understand equal pay. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact an attorney.