Susan Gross Sholinsky, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s New York office, was quoted in Corporate Counsel, in “On Equal Pay Day, In-House Counsel Can Start Closing the Gap,” by Caroline Spiezio. (Read the full version – subscription required.)
Following is an excerpt:
Four months into 2018, the average American woman will have finally caught up to the pay an average U.S. man earned by the end of 2017.
April 10 is Equal Pay Day, meant to remind Americans of the wage gap between men and women in the United States. On average, women earn 80 cents for every dollar earned by men, and that gap is even wider for black, Native American and Latina women.
And recent government-mandated salary disclosures in the U.K. show that the problem isn’t only in the United States. Facebook Inc. and Google are paying British women less or providing smaller bonuses than they give to men (the data also shows that some outside law firms in the U.K. are paying women less than men).
In-house leaders can help close that gap at their companies, but the question remains as to how they can best use their leverage to tackle this vexing problem. …
“Companies may want to comply nationwide, even if they have employees where the laws have not been passed yet,” said Susan Gross Sholinsky, a member of Epstein Becker & Green’s employment, labor and workforce management practice. “A lot of companies are going out there and doing it on a public policy basis.”
Along with eliminating salary questions, Sholinsky says in-house lawyers can help companies establish pay bands for particular roles. That way, salary offers and changes will be aligned with clear metrics, like number of academic degrees or years of experience, rather than gut feelings that could contribute to pay discrimination. To comply with equal pay laws, she added, companies should also allow employees to discuss their salaries.
One of the most dramatic ways in-house lawyers can promote pay equity at work is through a pay audit. But Sholinsky and Porter warn that if pay gaps are found in the audit, the company will have to fix them—executives can no longer claim they didn’t know.
“Before you do a pay audit, you have to be comfortable to the extent that, if you reveal something that is unpleasant, you’ve got to do something about it,” Sholinsky said. “Because doing a pay audit, getting bad results and then not doing anything about it is worse than not doing an audit at all.”