OCMA Brief Helps Secure Big Win in Federal Case

OCMA Brief Helps Secure Big Win in Federal Case Banning Basing Pay Rates on Salary History

  • OMCA is dedicated to fighting sex-based pay practices in the workplace. As an example of that, in May 2017, the OCMA was one of only three unions nationwide which filed a friend of the court brief in a very important federal court case on the whether it is consistent with federal law to rely on salary history in setting pay rates.
  • OCMA argued that use of salary/pay rate history to establish pay rates perpetuates pay rate distinctions even among workers with similar skills and experience, and that these distinctions can be the result of past sex discrimination.
  • OCMA’s brief pointed out that managers are potentially impacted by the use of salary history to cap an incoming salary or salary upon transfer to a new position and that this means that workers with similar skills and experience are often paid differently—differences which can be the result of past pay discrimination against women and people of color, as well as members of the LGBT community.
  • OCMA argued that rather than basing pay rates on salary/pay rate history, federal law requires pay rate decisions to be based on legitimate job-related criteria, like experience, training, skill/ability or prior job performance.
  • On April 9, 2018, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed, finding that the use of salary history to set pay rates violates the federal Equal Pay Act.
  • In making this finding, the Court specifically stated that this was not a ban on employees bringing up salary history in individual salary negotiations.
  • It is possible that this case will be taken before the United States Supreme Court, but unless overturned by the Supreme Court, this ruling, which applies in 9 Western States and two Pacific island territories, is a big step forward in the effort to eliminate persistent pay gaps between men and women in the workplace.
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