According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women in the U.S. earn $0.82 for every dollar a man earns. The pay inequality applies to every occupation and every level of educational attainment. The New York legislature has enacted a new law to protect workers from pay inequity: the New York Pay Equity Law expands federal protections for wage equality.
What Laws Protect Me from Wage Discrimination?
In New York City, both federal and state laws protect workers from wage discrimination. Both laws have the stated purpose of eliminating the gender wage gap.
The main federal law, found in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, prohibits discrimination based on protected class status. Lack of equal pay is a kind of wage discrimination that is made unlawful under the Act. A worker’s right to fair pay is also protected under the Equal Pay Act (EPA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The law on pay equity in New York is Labor Law Section 194, which was enacted in 2019. This law expands federal protections to include pay differences based on a protected class, including:
- National origin
- Sexual orientation
- Gender identity or expression
- Family status
- Domestic violence victim status
Under the law, it is unlawful for an employer to pay an employee less than an employee of the opposite sex for equal work. It also makes it unlawful for employers to restrict employees’ ability to inquire or discuss wages with co-workers.
Who Is Protected Under the Law?
The law applies to any person, corporation, limited liability company, or association employing any individual in any occupation, industry, trade, business or service. It gives workers the right to equal pay outside their protected class for “substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions.”
However, there are exceptions under the New York Pay Equity Law. Circumstances that allow an employer to pay different wages include differences in:
- Seniority level
- Quantity or quality of production
- Other bona fide factors such as education, training, or experience
An employer can use the above as a defense to a claim for pay equity.
How Much Compensation Can I Recover if My Employer Violates New York’s Pay Equity Law?
If your rights have been violated under New York’s Pay Equity Law, you are entitled to lost wages plus three times that amount in liquidated damages.
How Long Do I Have to File a Claim under New York’s Pay Equity Law?
The lookback period for NYC employees is six years. During that time, you can bring an action against a current or former employer. This statute of limitations is expanded compared to other jurisdictions.
How Do I Bring a Claim under New York’s Pay Equity Law?
If you’ve experienced wage discrimination in NYC, you have rights. Bringing a claim can be overwhelming, especially if you have experienced emotional or mental suffering as a result of the inequality. An experienced Employment Lawyer, like the team at Ricotta & Marks, P.C., can guide you through the process of filing a claim while advocating for your rights every step of the way. To get started filing your claim or to have your case evaluated, call Ricotta & Marks, P.C. at (347) 535-0999 today.