The federal Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex by paying higher wages and benefits to male employees for equal work on jobs the performance of which requires equal skill, effort and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions.
New Hampshire also has an Equal Pay Act statute, RSA 275:37, that likewise prohibits employers from paying women at a rate less than men for equal work that requires equal skill, effort and responsibility and that is performed under similar working conditions.
U.S. Women Soccer Team Filed Equal Pay Lawsuit
Members of the U.S. Senior Women’s National Soccer Team recently filed an Equal Pay Act lawsuit in the federal district court for the Central District of California. In the lawsuit, the female team members have alleged that despite the fact that female members of the Women’s National Soccer Team and the male members of the U.S. Senior Men’s Team are called upon to perform the same job responsibilities on their teams and participate in international competitions for their same employer, that the female players have been consistently paid less money than their male counterparts. In addition, the female team members have alleged that this is true even though their performance has been superior to that of the male players (including becoming world champions).
Some of the disparities alleged by the female team members include:
- that the women were paid less per game
- that the women were required to play on inferior surfaces (artificial turf–which they allege can lead to significant, career-threatening injuries)
- that the women were less frequently provided with charter flights (as opposed to commercial flights)
- and that the women’s games were promoted less than the men’s games.
And of course, the women alleged that the men were paid more than the women in a number of aspects of their compensation.
The lawsuit was just filed in March 2019. It will be very interesting to watch the progression of this lawsuit through the court system.
Filing an Equal Pay Lawsuit
At Upton & Hatfield, LLP, we have brought litigation under both federal and state Equal Pay Acts to prevent discrimination against women in pay. We frequently begin these suits by bringing a claim alleging gender discrimination under Title VII (the federal law that prevents discrimination on the basis of sex) and NH RSA 354-A (the state counterpart to Title VII). Claims under Title VII and N.H. RSA 354-A begin with the filing of an administrative claim at the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission in Concord, NH. There is no requirement to first file an Equal Pay Act claim at the New Hampshire Human Rights Commission, but it is a requirement to file there if an employee is also alleging gender discrimination under Title VII and/or NH RSA 354-A.
If you believe that you are being discriminated against on the basis of gender, and/or you believe you are being paid less than a male employee for equal work on a job the performance of which requires equal skill, effort and responsibility, and which is performed under similar working conditions, please contact an attorney in the Employment Law Group of Upton & Hatfield, LLP in Concord.