An Observation About Comparable Worth
Arizona State University (ASU) - Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
University of Puget Sound Law Review, Vol. 9, p. 491, 1986
In 1963, Congress passed the Equal Pay Act which, despite its mandate of equal pay for ‘equal work,’ has been understood from its inception to require only that an employer pay women equal wages for doing work virtually identical to the work done by the employer's male employees. The Act has not been interpreted to require courts to find equality in jobs that are significantly different in substance, despite the oft-present fact that the jobs may be ‘equal,’ at least in some persons' eyes, in terms of demand and stress, responsibility, skill, educational background, value of the work's product, or worth to the employer. The concept of ‘comparable worth’ incorporates qualities like these and dictates that they be weighed to assess the ‘real’ value of employees' work. One year after the Equal Pay Act, Congress enacted the Civil Rights Act, including Title VII which outlaws all sexist or ethnicist discrimination in employment. This article discusses the legal debate over comparable worth, whether Title VII incorporates the comparable worth doctrine, and what the courts are thinking in their analysis of this legal question.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 7
Keywords: Equal Pay Act, Title VII, comparable worth
Date posted: July 9, 2009
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