Equal Pay Day 2020: Seyfarth’s Release of Equal Pay Resources

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Synopsis: On Equal Pay Day 2020, Seyfarth’s Pay Equity Group is pleased to release two reference guides: its Fourth Annual 50-State Pay Equity Desktop Reference and 2020 Developments in Pay Litigation Report.

Equal Pay Day is always a day of deep reflection and connection for our Pay Equity Group. The day is filled with webinars, phone calls and interviews, flights, in-person meetings and hallway greetings.  This year, instead of flying around the country, we are working from homes, preparing final materials in make-shift home offices between “homeschooling” sessions. At least one of our planning calls was interrupted by a new “co-worker” roller-skating down the hallway.

But putting the final touches on our communications in the quiet of the morning, we reflect on the way the global pandemic has had a way of clarifying and crystalizing the core of what is important.  As Kori Carew, Seyfarth’s Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer, wisely stated that “Our need for connection and belonging likely hasn’t been greater for most of our lifetimes.” So even though we have made the decision to move our webinar until later in the year, we wanted to share these reference materials.  We are grateful that we can support the efforts of so many employers who are proactively working to ensure equal pay on a daily basis.  As we offer these resources to you today, we plan to hold a substantive webinar in the summer when we can collectively focus on the legal issues, trends and practices that propel our combined work and focus on ensuring equal pay for all.

As we look back at 2019 and forward to the new world that 2020 and beyond presents, we see three key trends:

  • The Continued Passage of Pay Laws: Since the beginning of 2019, we saw new pay laws enacted or strengthened in eleven states.  Alabama, which was one of only two states without any state pay equity laws, passed an equal pay law and also enacted a quasi-salary history ban.  Colorado passed a law that will require employers, beginning in January 2021 to include the pay scale on job postings.  Nebraska passed a wage transparency law. There are new or amended salary history bans in Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and Washington state.  There are also new equal pay laws or increased penalties for violations of equal pay laws in Illinois, Maryland, Nevada, New York, and Wyoming.  The Fourth Annual 50-State Pay Equity Desktop Reference outlines many of these changes at the state-level.
  • Increased Pay Litigation: Over the years, we have seen an increase in litigation under the federal Equal Pay Act and analogous state laws with noticeable focus on state law claims. With over 300 pure “pay” cases filed in the last two years, we see a concentration of cases in California, Florida, and Texas. Those cases are already generating new and intriguing legal issues that have the potential to reshape the landscape of pay equity litigation, including whether and how those claims can be maintained as collective or class actions. The 2020 edition of the Developments in Pay Litigation Report, authored by our colleague Matt Gagnon, outlines these cases and trends.
  • A Global Focus on Pay Equity: In 2019, we saw employers continue to focus on global pay equity issues, to be more transparent about pay along with an increased appetite for additional data and metrics. As our global workforces are impacted by COVID-19, we believe that the desire to connect, to demonstrate belonging will be even more important in 2020.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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