You must fairly compensate employees for their work. Under one Federal law, women and men have the right to receive equal pay if they perform equal work in the same workplace. Under this law, it does not matter how many employees you have, and most employees across both the public and private sectors are covered. The jobs or work being compared don’t have to be identical, but they must be what is considered “substantially equal.” Job content (not job titles) is what determines this. All forms of compensation are covered, meaning not only pay, but also benefits.

Another Federal law also prohibits most employers with at least 15 employees from discriminating based on sex in pay and benefits. Under this law, however, there is no requirement that the jobs be “substantially equal.” Rather, sex-based discrimination may be proven when there is evidence of:

  • discriminatory application of a wage policy or system, or wage-setting techniques;
  • barriers to equal access to jobs; or
  • wages being intentionally lowered because of the sex of the employees in the job.

Furthermore, under an Executive Order, certain Federal contractors and subcontractors are prohibited from discriminating in employment decisions, including pay, on the basis of sex (as well as race, color, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or status as a protected veteran).

Questions? We’re here to help.

We are committed to helping you understand your responsibilities as an employer. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) work together to ensure equal pay.

For additional assistance, please contact:

Learn about OFCCP Learn about EEOC