Friday, April 12, 2013 from 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM, EDT - live chat.
How to Participate
- Enter your question directly into the live chat window found on the interactive page.
12:47 DOL Moderator: The chat begins at 1:00. Please feel free to submit your questions now.
1:01 Pat Shiu: Good afternoon. My name is Pat Shiu and I am the Director of the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs. At OFCCP we enforce the civil rights of the nearly 25% of American workers who are employed by – or seek jobs with – companies that hold contracts with the federal government. Over the past four years, we have made it a priority to combat pay discrimination in the workplaces we review. Since I arrived at OFCCP, we have settled more than 70 cases of pay discrimination by providing financial remedies and job opportunities to the affected workers. Through those efforts, OFCCP recovered more than $2.3 million in back wages and salary adjustments for more than 800 workers. But we can and must do more – from updating our regulations and collecting better data to working with employers to improve compensation systems and teaching workers how negotiate for fair pay.
So, let’s continue the conversation by talking about some of those efforts. I look forward to hearing your questions and comments!
1:01 Latifa Lyles: Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us today. My name is Latifa Lyles and I am the Acting Director of the Women's Bureau.
This week we recognized Equal Pay Day. It symbolizes the amount of time it takes for women’s earnings to finally catch up to what men earned the year before. There’s no question: Women have and continue to make extraordinary contributions to the prosperity of our country. Women continue to go above and beyond in jobs that once upon a time were reserved only for men.
Yet men continue to earn more.
So today we highlight the pressing need for EQUAL PAY.
The Women's Bureau was created in 1920, just two months before women achieved the right to vote. After 93 years, there is still much to be done to secure good jobs with good wages for America's working women. There are 72 million working women in the U.S. With that many women in the workplace, the issue of equal pay continues to remain a priority for the Bureau.
In spite of great progress over the last several decades, a stubborn wage gap continues to impact women's pay almost 50 years after passage of the Equal Pay Act. Today, full-time women workers earn on average only 81 percent of their male counterparts. For African-American women and Latinas, the wage ratio is substantially lower: 68 cents and 59 cents, respectively. But the real cost of the pay gap is more than 18 or 23 cents on the dollar. The real cost is much higher. The consequences of a pay gap affect women, their families and our nation’s economy.
The Women’s Bureau is committed to educating women and employers on the cost of the pay gap. We work with our key stakeholders across the government and across the country to help end the pay gap altogether. Our Regional Offices around the country are working hard to reach women, individually and through organizations, to help educate them on the issue and to provide women with the tools and resources that they need to make a difference for themselves, their families and women workers across the country.
I am happy to join you all for this important conversation and welcome your questions.
1:02 Jennifer Hunt: Good afternoon. I’m excited to chat with you today about the challenges women face in achieving equal pay for equal work.
We know there is a pay gap between men and women. A woman who works full time for a whole year earns $0.81 for every $1.00 a man earns when measured on the basis of the weekly wage. The gap is even higher based on annual earnings – 77 cents on the dollar. The magnitude of this is striking when viewed over a whole career: the gap between men and women represents over $400,000 in lost earnings. This wage gap is actually worse for African American and Latina women as the gap rises to over $700,000 and over $800,000, respectively, in lost earnings over a course of a lifetime.
The gender pay gap is considerably larger when part-time workers are included, because part-time workers are mostly women, and lower hours reduce earnings. Women face various constraints that may prevent them from working the hours they want or need. We have some interesting statistics from the BLS American Time Use Survey we can share with you later on concerning how men and women spend their time. Nevertheless, if we focus on hourly pay of all workers, women fare only slightly better than the figure given above, earning 83 cents for every $1.00 a man works.
Some decades ago, this gap was due in part to women’s lower education. But now women are better educated than men, so the gap among men and women with the same education is higher than the overall gap.
For workers with more than a high school education, the gender pay gap is hard to explain in terms other than pay discrimination. Women have only slightly lower experience than men. But compared to educated men in similar occupations, women still only earn 85 cents to a man’s dollar.
For workers with high school or less, some of the gender pay gap is better understood. An important factor is women’s lower labor market experience: workers with more experience earn more, and women pay a price for time spent out of the labor force, usually with children. Again, women face constraints in choosing working hours. This shows up in women’s being in worse-paid occupations than men. Among similar men and women in this education group, women still earn less, and the remaining gap seems likely to be the result of discrimination.
1:06 Comment From @BLR_HR via Twitter: Negotiating skills is cited as a factor in the gender pay gap. Any plans for a skills program?
1:06 Nancy Leppink, WHD: Thanks for your question! We've got an app for that. The Women's Bureau knows how important negotiation skills are! http://www.dol.gov/equalpay/apps-winners.htm.
The White House knows too. Visit their website for information on the Paycheck Fairness Act. www.whitehouse.gov/equal-pay
1:07 Comment From Guest: What are the back pay remedies allowed under the Pay Equity laws and regulations?
1:07 Pamela Coukos: Back pay is supposed to make workers “whole” for discrimination – that might include differences in salary or hourly rate, overtime, benefits, commissions or any other form of compensation that the person lost because of discrimination - including interest. In some situations and under some statutes, workers can also recover damages, and changes to policies and practices that are discriminatory among other remedies.
1:07 Comment From Grace: Are we able to obtain a transcript copy at the end?
1:07 DOL Moderator: Yes, there will be an archived version available.
1:08 Comment From Nancy: Is there any volumn I am not getting any.
1:08 DOL Moderator: This is a text only chat. There is no audio.
1:08 Comment From Nancy: I have a small business but because of lack of funding I can not keep it running.
1:08 Latifa Lyles, WB: The SBA has Women's Business Development Centers across the country that can help. www.sba.gov.
1:09 Comment From Nikki: How can a woman know if she is being paid fairly? Is there a website for us to check?
1:09 Latifa Lyles, WB: We've got two resources that might help. We have an equal pay app (www.dol.gov/equalpay) and a Woman's Guide to Equal Pay document, which you can get at the same site.
1:10 Comment From Guest: Why is there such an Gap between pay of men and women doing the same Job over the same amount of years?
1:10 Dr. Hunt, Chief Economist: We are not sure, but discrimination is an obvious possibility. Another is that women bargain less forcefully over wages when they are in job negotiations.
1:12 Comment From Kelly: Other countries make it possible for both men and women to combine work and family by sharing the parental leave for a new baby between the mother and the father. For example in Sweden and Finland, both parents are encouraged to share the leave equally. It seems to have a positive effect on the pay gap. Is this something that we would ever explore in the US?
1:12 Latifa Lyles, WB: The US Family and Medical Leave Act allows each covered parent (men and women) to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave -- so they can share it if they want, as long as they're both covered. For more information, check out www.dol.gov/whd.
1:15 Comment From Julie: Say you are a woman who would like to change career-paths to a different industry. Are there any government funded programs that would support a college-educated woman in going back to school to earn another degree?
1:15 Latifa Lyles, WB: Julie, you may find some helpful resources in our Why Green Is Your Color: A Woman's Guide to a Sustainable Career. http://www.dol.gov/wb/Green_Jobs_Guide/index.htm
1:17 Comment From Julie: Director Shiu - when you state you want to work with employer to improve compensation systems - why then doesn't your office offer concrete standards for review of compensation practices so they will know whether or not they are meeting the 'equal pay' standard?
1:17 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thanks for your question. OFCCP is committed to facilitating success for federal contractors and subcontractors. In the Notice of Rescission we clarified OFCCP’s compensation investigation procedures and protocols. This responds directly to requests made by the contractor community. We also have a new resource page on our website http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/CompGuidance/ where contractors can find new compliance assistance materials – including our Directive 307, that contractors can use to evaluate their own practices. Under that Directive, OFCCP will review the specific pay practices of the contractor, and assess both larger and smaller groups for potential discrimination. For example, the Directive uses Pay Analysis Groups, defined as: “a group of employees (potentially from multiple job titles, units, categories and/or job groups) who are comparable for purposes of analyzing a contractor's pay practices. A pay analysis group may be limited to a single job or title, and regression analysis may be performed separately on distinct units or categories of workers. Alternatively, a pay analysis group may combine employees from multiple job titles, units, categories and/or job groups in order to perform a pooled regression analysis, with statistical controls added as necessary to ensure workers are similarly situated. (Statistical testing for practices that impact pay such as job assignment may require a different analytic grouping than testing for pay differences within a single job.)”
1:17 Comment From Guest: Why does Directive 307 call for applying Title VII legal standards, which requires proof of intent? As opposed to the Equal Pay Act which does not.
1:20 Pamela Coukos, OFCCP: Under the Executive Order, OFCCP is required to apply Title VII principles - which can also include disparate impact as well as intentional discrimination. Disparate impact does not require proof of intent. Our Directive follows and applies Title VII to assess pay discrimination.
1:20 Comment From Rudene Thomas: Isn't the Lilly Ledbetter law in effect? If so, how can you go about using it or do you have to seek an employment attorney if you think that you are not being paid fairly as a man?
1:21 Latifa Lyles, WB: Yes, it's in effect. The Women's Guide to Equal Pay explains more and offers resources available to help workers -- and you shouldn't need an attorney to file a discrimination charge with the EEOC. www.dol.gov/equalpay
1:21 Comment From Jessica Ponaman: Can you please provide an update on the status of Directive 307?
1:21 Pamela Coukos, OFCCP: Directive 307 became effective on February 28, 2013.
1:22 Comment From John Frith: Isn’t it true that when you call for equal pay for men and women, that what you really mean is pay based on “comparable worth” – that if the secretary in the office and the laborer on the job site are determined by some bureaucrat to provide equal value to the employer, they must be paid the same?
1:23 Latifa Lyles, WB: When the President calls for equal pay for women and men, he is referring to eliminating sex discrimination in compensation. What constitutes sex discrimination in violation of Federal law is decided on a case by case basis. The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. Job content (not job titles) determines whether jobs are substantially equal. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, also makes it illegal to discriminate based on sex in pay and benefits (www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/equalcompensation.cfm). The U.S. Supreme Court, in County of Washington v. Gunther, has ruled that claims of sex-based wage discrimination brought under Title VII are not limited to claims of equal pay for equal work. Chapter 10 of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Compliance Manual (www.eeoc.gov/policy/docs/compensation.html#10-III COMPENSATION DISCRIMINATION) sets forth the standards under which compensation discrimination is established in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (Title VII), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), or the Equal Pay Act (EPA). In addition, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs published a final notice in the Federal Register on February 28, 2013 with respect to compensation practices, which included notice of the standards OFCCP intends to rely upon when conducting compliance evaluations and the standards OFCCP will be instructing its compliance officers to follow.
1:24 Comment From JR: What should employers do if a new male employee says he wants a higher wage than a female employee and their experience and education is the same?
1:24 Latifa Lyles, WB: Of course we can't give you legal advice on this webchat, but I can talk a little bit about what the basic legal issues might be. Determining whether people are being paid fairly or due to discrimination has no easy answer, but courts would probably consider some or all of the factors you described - such as how long each of you worked at the company, what work each of you do, your credentials, and the pay differences. There is no rule that you can only compare people hired on the same day. There are also two laws that might apply to your situation, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Pay Act, and some of the standards are a little different under each one. You can consult with the US EEOC and the legal resources available on their website at www.eeoc.gov and if you work for a federal contractor and believe you may be experiencing pay discrimination, you can also file a complaint with us at the OFCCP. Visit our website at www.dol.gov/ofccp to learn more.
1:26 Comment From Carolyn Horn: I am so very ashamed of this outdated America at times like this. I am almost 66 yrs young, but this is time wasted on a no brainer or maybe lost brainer.....IF YOU DO THE SAME JOB YOU SHOULD GET THE SAME PAY. I will still pray that people come to their senses so we can start to grow and live life as GOD planned for us to who do we think we are anyway. EQUIL PAY TODAY MAKES SO MUCH SENCE.
1:26 Dr. Hunt, Chief Economist: Don’t despair too much. Things are getting better. For example, in 1970, women were 9.7% of the nation’s doctors and just 4.9% of its lawyers. By 2005, women held 33.4% of legals jobs – including lawyers, judges, magistrates and other judicial workers. The share of female physicians and surgeons increased to 32.4%.
1:26 Comment From Jay-Anne Casuga: Hi Director Shiu! What are the key steps contractors should take in order to be prepared when OFCCP analyzes their compensation practices during a compliance evaluation?
1:26 Patricia Shiu, OFCCP: Hi Jay-Anne. Contractors should of course already be regularly preparing and updating their written Affirmative Action Plans and proactively reviewing all of their employment practices, including pay, for potential problems and developing action-oriented plans to address them. Contractors should also have their supporting data ready to provide to us. Contractors can expect us to ask them questions about their data, their pay practices and their self-analysis, and that we may need to go onsite to do interviews and investigate issues. I also suggest they review the Directive and the FAQs to have a clear understanding of OFCCP’s investigative approach.
1:27 Comment From Marge Wood: Has USOL given up on encouraging women in high-skill non-traditional apprenticeship programs? I am concerned that zeroing out WANTO funding sends a chilling message far beyond the impact on the few exemplary programs that were supported by these funds.
1:27 Latifa Lyles, WB: Although this program is intended to address a critical need, in the Department’s recent experience, we have found the WANTO program is too small to have a meaningful impact on the number of women participating in registered apprenticeship programs. The Women's Bureau -- and the department -- is developing proposed changes to regulations for Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) in Registered Apprenticeship (29 CFR part 30), which are in process. These proposed revisions seek to improve the effectiveness of Registered Apprenticeship program sponsors’ affirmative action efforts. These revisions to Registered Apprenticeship’s regulatory framework should lead to expanded promotion of Registered Apprenticeship and non-traditional job opportunities for women and under-represented populations, and will likely have a greater impact on promoting opportunities in non-traditional jobs for women. ETA will continue to provide outreach and technical assistance to employers and other apprenticeship sponsors. These outreach efforts include ensuring equal opportunity in registered apprenticeship programs. Based on lessons learned from previous WANTO grants, ETA has developed a national framework to establish consistency and quality across pre-apprenticeship programs that can help minorities and women gain greater access to apprenticeship opportunities.
1:29 Comment From Guest: How is Pay Equality determine for certain position?
1:29 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: The Equal Pay Act requires that men and women in the same workplace be given equal pay for equal work. In addition Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of sex in compensation, including benefits. The determination of what is Title VII compensation discrimination in a given situation depends on whether the workers being compared are “similarly situated” with regard to factors such as skills and responsibility of the position.
1:29 Comment From @AAUWPolicy via Twitter: The Women's Bureau's public education services are vital. How can people fight for their rights if they don’t even know them?
1:29 Latifa Lyles, WB: Thanks, AAUWPolicy! We think they're vital too. The Women's Bureau has got lots of products to help people learn more about their rights. For example: the Guide to Women's Equal Pay Rights available on our website. www.dol.gov/equalpay has lots of resources like this to help spread the word. Our public education efforts also include blogs and presentations by me and other knowledgable members of my staff.
1:29 Comment From Guest: Is the $2,000 / 2% analysis still a meaningful tool?
1:29 Patricia Shiu, OFCCP: OFCCP currently has no specific numeric threshold that it uses to determine whether to proceed to requesting individual data in a compliance evaluation. OFCCP will generally conduct some form of preliminary analysis at the desk audit stage. Where OFCCP begins a review with summary data, the Compliance Officer (CO) will conduct a preliminary analysis on the summary data that includes general pay comparisons. Where OFCCP begins a review with individual data, the CO may group the data into pay grades or job groups and conduct a similar summary analysis or may proceed directly to analysis of all of the individual data. The CO will assess quantitative factors such as: the size of any overall average pay differences based on race (minority vs. nonminority) and gender (female vs. male); the number of job groups where average pay differences exceed a certain threshold; or the number of employees negatively affected within job groups. OFCCP will also consider qualitative factors as explained below (See Question 18) in deciding whether to proceed further with a review. OFCCP periodically may adjust the size and weight of any factors used for these general quantitative comparisons based on the review of the results of investigations proceeding under different thresholds, the results of quality audits, or other factors such as agency resources and priorities.
1:35 Comment From Annalyn Kurtz: Is the pay gap still evident looking at just the youngest generation of workers?
1:35 Dr. Hunt, Chief Economist: Thanks for that question, Annalyn. The pay gap is much smaller at younger ages, which may either mean that the pay gap grows with age or that new generations of women are doing better.
1:35 Comment From Simone Avery-Legree: What should a female employee do if she is denied a raise and promotion that is given to a male with less experince and education?
1:35 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: She should consider filing a complaint with the appropriate federal, state or local agency such as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Questions on where to direct a complaint can be directed to the DOL National Contact Center, 1-866-487-2365. If she works for a federal contractor, she could file a complaint with the OFCCP.
1:36 Comment From Guest: What about women who work on Government contracts? How can they be certain they are getting paid as much as their male counterparts, and what laws govern this?
1:37 Pamela Coukos, OFCCP: If you work for a company that has a contract with the federal government, they have to comply with Executive Order 11246 and its regulations, that require nondiscrimination in pay, regular monitoring of pay practices, and also recordkeeping. If you are concerned about potential discrimination, you can file a complaint with OFCCP. Visit www.dol.gov/ofccp to learn more.
1:38 Comment From Tanya Boone: In addressing equal pay issues, employees should be able to discuss their pay with fellow employees. However, most employee handbooks will state that employees are not to discuss their wages with other employees and you are required to sign a document that you have read and understand the employee handbook. This brings the question of employer transparency and what are the rights of the employee to request salary information if it cannot be discussed openly otherwise. Side note: I work in a male dominated field and did not have female mentors, after college, with similar titles with which to draw expectations and experiences. Professional mentorships that are gender matches would have been invaluable.
1:38 Latifa Lyles, WB: Nearly half of all workers nationally are either contractually forbidden or strongly discouraged from discussing their pay with colleagues, according to the results of a 2010 Institute for Women’s Policy Research/Rockefeller Survey of Economic Security.Several States—California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Vermont—have enacted laws that prohibit employers from requiring employees to refrain from inquiring about, disclose, or compare their wages.
In addition, Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act protects non-supervisory employees, who are covered by the Act, from employer retaliation when they discuss their wages or working conditions with their colleagues as part of an effort to improve them, even if there is no union or other formal organization involved in the effort.
1:39 Comment From John Frith: Is it true that research shows that when we compare men and women in the same job, same level, same experience and education, that pay is about the same?
1:39 Dr. Hunt, Chief Economist: No, especially among more educated workers the pay gap is as large as 15% even when we compare men and women in the same job, same level, same experience and education and occupation.
1:39 Comment From @SavanGroup via Twitter: What current initiatives is DOL undertaking to achieve equal pay?
1:39 Latifa Lyles, WB: Encouraging women to enter higher-paying career fields, such as science, technology, engineering, and math, and higher-paying green jobs. Calling attention to the challenges faced by vulnerable low-wage women workers, such as restaurant workers, and working to promote the President’s proposal to raise the minimum wage. Working with other Federal agencies on the President’s Equal Pay Task Force-- the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, our sister agency in the U.S. Department of Labor, as well as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Office of Personnel Management--to strengthen enforcement of Federal laws prohibiting sex discrimination in employment, including in compensation. You can find more information on the Task Force Accomplishments and equal pay tools, resources and Apps on the Labor Department’s Web site at www.dol.gov/equalpay/. These tools, resources, and apps include our publications A Guide to Women’s Equal Pay Rights and An Employer’s Guide to Equal Pay in English, French, Spanish, Chinese, and Vietnamese, Highlights of Women’s Earnings by Women’s Bureau region, and information on the Equal Pay Act Challenge winners.
1:42 Comment From @ameshkaty via Twitter: Will the collection of wage data help #CloseTheGap? What is being done to get employers to collect data?
1:42 Pamela Coukos, OFCCP: OFCCP is considering systematically collecting pay data from federal contractors in order to help #CloseTheGap. We published an ANPRM – a way to get an advance discussion of potential regulations going – in August of 2011 and received over 7000 comments from a broad array of stakeholders on the design and purposes of such a tool. The next step would be to issue Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that sets out a specific proposed data collection tool.
1:42 Comment From Charlie Brown: Would OFCCP consider working with other state agencies to share relevant pay information?
1:42 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you for your question. As you may know, OFCCP is subject to legal limitations on our ability to disseminate information. However, OFCCP is interested in learning how state agencies are enforcing wage-based discrimination laws.
1:43 Comment From Liz Barrett, Savan Group, LLC: Thanks for having this important discussion today. We know women are achieving the highest higher education attainment rates of all time and in all kinds of fields. What is happening between college/grad school and the first job? Is this an issue regarding training in salary negotiation, a discrimination issue, or something else?
1:43 Dr. Hunt, Chief Economist: Women choose less remunerative fields of study in college and graduate school. Then, the gender pay gap increases over the course of a career. This seems to be related to an increasing gender experience gap. However, discrimination and salary negotiation are issues throughout.
1:46 Comment From Guest: if you work for government, civil service how can you get salary fairness
1:46 Latifa Lyles, WB: The Office of Personnel Management is part of the President's Equal Pay Task Force. See information on the task force's accomplishments at our website. www.dol.gov/equalpay
1:47 Comment From Guest: Ms. Shiu, so, employees in Pay Analysis Groups must still be "similarly situated" in terms of job content, not just similar pay practices?
1:47 Patricia Shiu, OFCCP: It depends on the situation. When a company discriminates by channeling women into lower paying entry level jobs at hire, or by blocking opportunities to advance to higher paying positions, it may be more appropriate to compare workers with similar qualifications, not similar jobs. Ultimately, the determination of who is similarly situated is case-specific. You can also use statistical controls within a single Pay Analysis group to determine how a pay practice affects a group of workers with different jobs.
1:48 Comment From Illume Training, LLC: Dr. Hunt, where is the documentation providing the statistics you are stating?
1:48 Dr. Hunt, Chief Economist: Please see this BLS report here: www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/wkyeng.pdf
1:48 Comment From Susan: I am a disabled veteran and have also just completed my master's degree with honors. Why is it so difficult to get an interview? Is it because men usually get hired?
1:48 Latifa Lyles, WB: Susan, first let us thank you for your service. There are lots of resources available to help veterans like you find jobs at http://www.mynextmove.org/vets/.
1:48 Comment From Liz Skidmore: Could you talk about your plans to increase enforcement of hiring goals for women in construction? Executive Order 11246 will have been law for 35 years this May, but the promise of equality in high wage, high skilled construction work has not materialized for women. We understand you have plans to change that and are very much looking forward to increased enforcement and increased partnerships with local stakeholders.
1:48 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thanks for your question, Liz. Opening middle class jobs in the construction trades to women is a high priority for OFCCP. We are engaged in an important ongoing initiative to strengthen our enforcement and outreach in this area. We appreciate the cooperation and help of all of our stakeholders in this effort.
1:49 Comment From Annalyn Kurtz: In what occupations is the pay gap the widest?
1:49 Dr. Hunt, Chief Economist: The detailed occupation with the worst pay disparity in 2012 was Insurance sales agents, followed by (2) Retail salespersons, (3) Real estate brokers and sales agents, (4) Personal financial advisors, (5) Education administrators, (6) Physicians and surgeons, (7) General and operations managers, (8) Marketing and sales managers, (9) Securities, commodities, and financial services sales agents, (10) Inspectors, testers, sorters, samplers, and weighers.
1:49 Comment From Illume Training, LLC: Is there a list of FAQ's provided by the DOL since we train discrimination and harassment in the workplace?
1:49 Latifa Lyles, WB: There's information on the EEOC website about sex discrimination and sexual harassment. www.eeoc.gov
1:52 Comment From Kristin: Most companies have a pay for performance system in place. How do you view these system and how they can impact pay differences between genders and ethnicities.
1:52 Patricia Shiu, OFCCP: When companies use performance to set pay, they need to do so without discrimination. Performance can be a valid basis for paying employees differently, but OFCCP will investigate and test any factors that a contractor uses to determine pay to ensure they are not tainted by discrimination. Where identified employment practices such as performance review systems show disparities, OFCCP review for potential evidence regarding whether the practices result in disparate treatment or disparate impact - including inquiring about evidence of validation and/or the existence of best practices to reduce adverse impact.
1:52 Comment From Terry: Are there proposals for other federal laws or regulations that would prohibit employers from forbidding their employees from discussing their wages or salaries?
1:52 Latifa Lyles, WB: Yes, the proposed Paycheck Fairness Act meets that description. Section 3, parenthesis B.
1:54 Comment From Shirley: It is my understanding that pay equity is determined by evaluating skills, efforts, responsibility and working conditions. What resources are available to interpret that into monetary values based on job classifications, job descriptions and essential functions, and is it fair to ask an employer to indicate how the salary amount was determined?
1:54 Dr. Hunt, Chief Economist: An example of the implementation of pay equity happened in Ontario in 1988. For each job an index was compiled based on skill, effort and responsibility requirements and working conditions. Jobs with the same index value were required to receive the same pay, only allowing seniority to create differences. Each company had to develop its own index.
1:54 Comment From Guest: in the response from 1:29 - seems like you are saying the OFCCP/CO can do what ever they want during the audit to try to find pay discrimination. Where is the good faith on behalf of the OFCCP as it seems the OFCCP is just looking to find fault anywhere in a contractors compensation system. You mentioned similarly situated but yet you also say the CO can look at the organization overall how much all females and all males are earning - this is not looking at similarly situations ees - so how is that level review warranted? thank you
1:55 Pamela Coukos, OFCCP: Our preliminary analysis is not designed to make ultimate determinations of discrimination. However, OFCCP will use the analysis to determine whether to continue the compliance evaluation of a contractor's compensation practices. In determining whether a violation has occurred, OFCCP is going to apply Title VII principles.
1:55 DOL Moderator: The chat will be ending in five minutes.
1:56 Comment From guest: Can't you work with DOE or University Presidents (or their placement offices) to see if starting salaries of recent graduates in the same fields or even employers are disparate? Seems logical to me.
1:56 Dr. Hunt, Chief Economist: That's a good idea. We can also study this using our own CPS data.
1:57 Comment From Guest: I work for a Federal Government contractor, I've observed the hiring process for contract employees, and been privy to salary information -- does the Government not set standards as to which positions pay which wages? Seems I've seen females make less than males in similar positions. Is there no standard for this? Ive heard it said that once a contract is awarded, the government does not care how or what you pay people.
1:57 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you for reaching out. I would encourage you to report this to OFCCP. Contact information is on our website, http://www.dol.gov/ofccp/.
1:59 Comment From Guest: Hasn't OFCCP actually been operating under Title VII for several years now? If there are such big gaps and OFCCP has been collecting high volumes of pay data, why aren't we seeing more settlements?
1:59 Pamela Coukos, OFCCP: OFCCP enforces Executive Order 11246 by applying Title VII principles that have governed since its inception. Starting in 2006, OFCCP applied guidance documents were based on a very limited interpretation of Title VII law, one that has hampered the agency’s ability to address pay discrimination to the full extent of its legal authority under the Executive Order. OFCCP has now determined that it is more appropriate, given the importance of addressing all forms of pay discrimination, to fully apply Title VII principles and not limit its investigations or reviews of compliance. We believe our new approach will help us #CloseTheGap.
1:59 Comment From guest: Does DOL/OFCCP have any oversight of the most varied pay disparities? Insurance? Retail Salespersons? Real estate brokers/sales agents?
1:59 Pat Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you for your question. Generally speaking, we regulate federal contractors and subcontractors regardless of industry.
2:00 Latifa Lyles, WB: Thank you all for your questions and comments. The Department of Labor is committed to closing the pay gap once and for all. That’s why we’ve spent the past three years protecting women in the workforce by fixing bad policies; leveling the playing field for employers that do play by the rules; cracking down on those who DO NOT ; and creating opportunities for workplace flexibility – so women can make the choices to provide for their families without being penalized for it.
We’ve met with experts and listened to employers, advocates, workers and community leaders, who have told us what works and what doesn’t. And today, we were pleased to have had the opportunity to listen to you. If you have further questions, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2:00 Patricia Shiu, OFCCP: Thank you all for your participation in today’s Equal Pay Chat. Here at the Department of Labor, we are committed to closing the pay gap that denies millions of American workers the fair wages to which they are entitled. Through the research and data analysis of our Chief Economist, the outreach and education activities of the Women’s Bureau and the enforcement and regulatory initiatives of the OFCCP, we are making progress towards that goal. Our work is bolstered by the efforts of our sister agencies, including the Wage and Hour Division, the EEOC and the Department of Justice. As our economy continues to recover, the question before all of us is: What kind of recovery will it be? My belief is that a truly American recovery is one which benefits all workers, lifts more people out of poverty and strengthens our middle class. Ensuring equal pay and fair employment practices are central to achieving those goals. Again, thank you for joining us for this important conversation. Have a great weekend!
*The first respondent at 1:06 is incorrectly identified as Nancy Leppink. The quote should be attributed to Latifa Lyles of the Women's Bureau.
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