Pay equity has become a hot-button issue for U.S. employers across all industries. The number of pay discrimination claims against employers—as well as multimillion-dollar settlements—has seen an uptick, thanks to increased attention to workplace gender equity issues in light of high-profile social and traditional media reports about disparities at many of the largest and most well-known companies, the #MeToo movement, increasingly robust pay equity laws and regulations, foreign jurisdiction pay data reporting requirements, administrative agency enforcement actions, and pending equal pay legislation. Progressively, employers are being forced to become more transparent with regard to employee pay in hiring, recruiting, and setting wage rates generally. But similar to, and as an extension of, the international movements against sexual harassment and assault, company missteps on pay equity can result in damage to a company's brand and reputation, loss of shareholder value, and diminished employee engagement and retention. Further, the rapidly changing legal landscape in multiple jurisdictions can make compliance and risk mitigation more difficult.
Why You Need Our Pay Equity Team
Our Pay Equity team uses a practical approach to help guide clients at all levels (including those in the boardroom and the executive suite) toward the prevention of equal pay claims and toward a compensation culture that is race- and gender-neutral. The team is comprised of attorneys and litigators from Epstein Becker Green and compensation consultants from affiliate EBG Advisors with deep practical experience in pay equity matters, offering a “one-stop shop” for employers. With members across the country who continually work together, our Pay Equity team provides multijurisdictional support in mitigating risk, addressing wage differences, and limiting exposure for equal pay violations. And many of our team’s advisors and litigators are former government officials and investigators, offering a particular insight on the priorities and motivations of such agencies as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, which have been targeting employers for pay equity violations.
Our team’s services include:
- Conducting attorney-client privileged pay equity audits, which include statistical computations and analyses, to identify and address any unjustifiable pay disparities
- Drafting compensation policies and procedures that provide for sufficient pay transparency and maintain pay equity compliance
- Reviewing and, if necessary, modifying hiring practices and processes to ensure compliance with an evolving legal landscape and to mitigate risk, and advising on the use of people analytics technologies
- Assisting employers in implementing and maintaining performance evaluation systems that support pay equity compliance
- Providing pay equity training to managers and others involved in the hiring, promotion, and compensation process
- Counseling on general wage and hour compliance and how equal pay impacts executive compensation, bonus pools, and reporting requirements
- Conducting internal investigations of complaints of wage inequality
- Defending employers in litigation and government investigations involving claims of pay discrimination
For example, we recently worked on a pay equity analysis for a technology company’s U.S.-based population. We provided the legal guidance on grouping, comparators, and mitigation strategies, where needed.