pay equity

Revised EEO-1 Form Still Uncertain as EEOC Does Not Appear to Be Accepting Component 2 Pay Data Yet

The status of the revised EEO-1 form remains unclear, see our prior post here.  While the EEOC is currently accepting 2018 EEO-1 Component 1 data, the EEOC does not appear to be accepting Component 2 pay data yet.  Instead, the EEOC has stated that it is “working diligently on next steps in the wake of the court’s order in National Women’s Law Center, et al., v. Office of Management and Budget, et al., Civil Action No. 17-cv-2458 (TSC), which vacated the OMB stay on collection of Component 2 EEO-1 pay data. The EEOC will provide further information as soon as possible.”  Stay tuned for additional updates.

EEOC’s Revised Pay Data Collection Rule is Back in Force

Uncertainty continues for the EEOC’s attempt to expand the collection of employers’ pay data. Last Monday, the D.C. District Court in National Women’s Law Center v. Office of Management and Budget, No. 17-cv-2458 (TSC) (D.D.C. Mar. 4, 2019), reinstated the EEOC’s revised EEO-1 form that increases employers’ obligation to collect and submit pay data. READ MORE

Oregon Announces Final Rules for Equal Pay Law Set to Take Effect January 1, 2019

As we reported last month, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) issued proposed regulations interpreting the provisions of the new Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017, which will become effective January 1, 2019.

On November 19, 2018, after receiving a number of comments on proposed rules BOLI filed final rules with the Secretary of State. Stakeholders that provided input on the potential impact of the rules as originally proposed ranged from large law firms and industry groups to small business owners and farmers, as well as multiple higher education institutions (including Oregon State University, Portland State University, the University of Oregon, and the Oregon Community College Association).

Some of the noteworthy changes between the proposed and final rules are that the final rules:

  • Added the language “regardless of job description or job title” in the definition of “work of comparable character,” thus emphasizing that job title or written job description alone cannot establish that any two employees are (or aren’t) “substantially similar.” OAR 839-008-0000(17).
  • Clarified in OAR 839-008-0005(2) what it means to “screen job applications based on current or past compensation.” In particular, the final rules narrow the scope of this language to make clear that the prohibition of “screen[ing]” in ORS 652.220(1)(c) bars only the consideration of current or past compensation to determine “a job applicant’s eligibility or suitability for employment.”  By contrast, the draft rules had proposed that prohibited “screen[ing]” would include any use “to group, sort, or select [employees] at any stage of the hiring process,” or to assess “[a] current employee’s eligibility for an internal transfer, move or hire to a new position with the same employer.”  This narrowing makes clear that the limits of the new prohibition on using prior pay to “screen.”
  • Added “creativity” and “precision” as examples of the type of “skill” considerations to be evaluated in determining whether any two employees do, in fact, perform “work of a comparable character.” OAR 839-008-0010(1)(b).
  • Eliminated language in proposed rule OAR 839-008-0010(2) that would have stated that “[m]inor differences in knowledge, skill, effort, responsibility, and working conditions will not prevent jobs from being comparable.” This change is consistent with comments submitted by a host of employers—including NFIB Oregon (a non-profit advocacy group for small businesses), the Oregon Farm Bureau, and Oregon Business & Industry—who expressed concern that the “minor differences” language could create confusion and be read to conflict with the statutory standard of “substantially similar.”
  • Revised OAR 839-008-0010(2) to make clear that “[e]valuations of work of comparable character need only consider comparisons of Oregon employees.”
  • Eliminated the proposed “Equal-Pay Analyses Surveys” rule.

A number of concerns expressed by commentators went unaddressed in the final rules, however.  Several commenters requested, but BOLI has not yet provided, a “pay calculation” tool akin to that provided by the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office.  In addition, commentators noted that the new law includes as “protected classes” several groups on which employers may not routinely collect demographic information (e.g., sexual orientation or marital status), which make it impossible for employers to proactively monitor pay differentials across these groups which the law purports to prohibit.  And a number of others asked the rules to clarify the law regarding pay differentials that may exist between employees in collective bargaining units and those outside those units, yet the final rules do not speak to the issue.

By and large, though, Oregon employers should be heartened by these changes.  They eliminate some of the more problematic provisions of the rules as originally proposed and underscore the fact-specific analysis of work performed needed to determine whether employees in fact perform “work of comparable character” within the meaning of the new law.

Orrick will continue to monitor additional developments in interpreting and applying the new law as it takes effect, and to advise employers in Oregon on compliance strategies in light of the new law.

Tech Giants Continue To Face The Equal Pay Litigation Spotlight

In recent years, the volume of equal pay lawsuits has continued to increase in Silicon Valley, despite technology companies reaffirming their commitment to equal pay policies and practices. Earlier this month, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (“HP”) was hit with the latest equal pay lawsuit. The class action lawsuit, filed in Santa Clara Superior Court, alleges that HP discriminated against its female workers by paying them less than their male counterparts and funneling women into certain jobs based on stereotypes. READ MORE

In Oregon, Employers Await Guidance as New Equal Pay Law’s January 1, 2019 Effective Date Looms

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) has issued proposed regulations interpreting the provisions of the new Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017, which will become effective January 1, 2019.  Although the prohibition against “seek[ing]” salary history from applicants already is in effect, many of the law’s most significant provisions go into effect on January 1.  READ MORE

Hitting Home: Law Firms are Now the Target of a Spate of New Pay Equity Cases

Big Law is no stranger to providing advice on pay equity or defending pay equity lawsuits. But until recently, headlines generally featured lawsuits challenging the compensation practices of their clients, not the law firms that represented them.

In the last two years, however, Big Law has itself moved into the spotlight with a wave of pay equity suits brought by aggrieved female partners and, in some cases, female associates. To date, the number of these suits against Big Law—either pending or concluded with multi-million-dollar settlements—has reached double digits and shows no signs of slowing down. We think the details are worth a second look—particularly in light of the complicated dynamics at play in how law firm partner compensation is set. READ MORE

Employer Alert: California Pay Equity Task Force Issues Guidance on Fair Pay Act

The California Pay Equity Task Force recently published guidance and approved resources for employer compliance with the state’s equal-pay laws. As we continue to track developments in this arena and await further interpretation from the courts, employers should be aware of this comprehensive and illustrative guidance in reviewing their hiring and compensation practices. READ MORE

Connecticut Soon to Join The Prior Salary Ban(dwagon)

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy is poised to sign into law the Act Concerning Pay Equity bill, which has been passed by both the Connecticut House and Senate General Assembly.  In what Governor Malloy referred to as “commonsense legislation” to address pay equity concerns, the Connecticut bill would prohibit an employer, or a third party acting on the employer’s behalf (like a recruiting firm), from inquiring about a prospective employee’s wage and salary history unless voluntarily disclosed by the applicant.  The bill does permit an employer to inquire about other components that contributed to the applicant’s previous total compensation package, but not about the value of those items.  Although no examples are provided in the legislation, it would seemingly be permissible to ask whether a prospective employee received stock options at their previous employment, but not the value of those options. READ MORE

Washington State Overhauls Equal Pay Laws After Seventy Five Years

On March 21, 2018, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law amendments to Washington State’s Equal Pay Act, which had not been updated since 1943.  According to the text of the new law, it seeks “to address income disparities, employer discrimination, and retaliation practices, as well as to reflect the equal status of all workers in the State.”   The amendments constitute a significant overhaul to Washington’s equal pay law, and reflect continued momentum among states to provide statutory protections beyond the federal standard. READ MORE

The New German Pay Transparency Act – Are You Ready?

Female hands counting large amount of euro currency cash banknotes, top view above office desk The New German Pay Transparency Act – Are You Ready?

On July 6, 2017, the Pay Transparency Act (Entgelttransparenzgesetz – EntgTranspG) came into force aiming to tackle the gender pay gap – which is suspected to range somewhere between 7 and 22 % in Germany. The Act mainly provides for information rights of employees and for the implementation of review and reporting procedures in companies.

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