Employers should not base a new worker’s pay on past salary because that could exacerbate unequal pay between men and women, a federal appeals court decided Monday.
An 11-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, overturning last year’s decision by a three-judge panel in the case, ruled unanimously in favor of a Fresno math consultant who was paid less than men for equal work because her prior salary was lower.
“Allowing an employer to justify a wage differential between men and women on the basis of prior salary is wholly inconsistent with the provisions of the Equal Pay Act,” Judge Stephen Reinhardt, who died last month, wrote for the court.
Despite passage of the federal pay law in 1963, “the financial exploitation of working women embodied by the gender pay gap continues to be an embarrassing reality of our economy,” Reinhardt wrote.
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