Employee Rights Established by EPA and Title VII

The Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act seek to protect workers in California from discrimination.

Although the acts obligate employers to treat people fairly regardless of their gender, race, religion or national origin, reality often falls short of the law, and mistreated employees must pursue legal complaints against their employers. The rights granted by these acts sometimes overlap, and a victim of discrimination might choose to file complaints based on one or both acts.

The EPA focuses entirely on preventing wage discrimination on the basis of gender. The law requires employers to pay men and women in equivalent positions the same salary or potentially expose themselves to legal liability.

Courts will generally view jobs as equal if they depend on equal skills, effort and responsibility at the same worksite. An EPA complaint offers a person the advantages of a longer statute of limitations compared to a Title VII complaint and the ability to proceed without approval from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. EPA claims tend to be easier to prove, and all employers are subject to this law.

Title VII applies to equal pay and reduced opportunities for people to get hired or promoted. It also expands discrimination beyond gender to include race, religion or national origin. Only employers with 15 or more employees need to adhere to Title VII laws, and the statute of limitations is shorter. Successful Title VII complaints, however, could produce better settlements for victims.

When a person wants to know if illegal workplace discrimination has occurred, a case review by an attorney might provide answers. With legal advice, a person may be able to decide how to proceed with a complaint. An attorney might manage collecting evidence, filing an EEOC complaint and presenting a case in court.