Pennsylvania Equal Pay Law

The Pennsylvania Equal Pay Law, 43 P.S. §336 (EPL), prohibits employers from paying employees of the opposite sex wages at a rate less than the rate that an employer pays wages to employees of the opposite sex for equal work on jobs which require the performance of work of equal skill, effort, and responsibility, and which are performed under similar working conditions. Exceptions apply when the pay is based upon a seniority system, a merit system, and/or a system which measures earnings by quantity or quality of production.

An employer who is paying a wage rate differential in violation of Pennsylvania Equal Pay Law cannot reduce the wage rate of an employee to comply. Any agreement between the employer and an employee to work for less than the wage to which the employee is entitled under this law is not a defense. Employers are also required to maintain records of wages, wage rates, job classifications and other terms and conditions of employment that would substantiate violation of the law.

Claims under the Equal Pay Law are analyzed under a two-step burden-shifting test. First, the employee plaintiff must establish what the law calls a prima facie case by demonstrating that employees of the opposite sex were paid differently for performing “equal work” – work of substantially equal skill, effort and responsibility, under similar working conditions. If the employee plaintiff establishes a prima facie case, the burden of persuasion then shifts to the employer to demonstrate that one of the affirmative defenses applies.

Any employer who willfully and knowingly violates the Pennsylvania Equal Pay Law is liable to affected employees in the amount of their unpaid wages and, in addition, an equal amount as liquidated damages. A lawsuit to recover wages and damages may be filed by any employee or a group of similarly situated employees. In addition to wages and other damages, employees can recover reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs. An action under the Pennsylvania Equal Pay Law must be filed within two years from the date upon which the violation occurs.

If your employer is paying higher wages to employees of the opposite sex for equal work, call Abramson Employment Law at 267-470-4742 or contact us online to discuss your legal options to pursue a violation of the Pennsylvania Equal Pay Law.

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