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Equal pay laws applicable to Michigan employees and employers

Today we Michiganders live in a world where women are equally involved in professions that were traditionally thought to be male dominated. Though more and more women have joined the workforce in Detroit, they still earn significantly less than their male counterparts. This disparity is more pronounced for women who are disabled or belong to an ethnic minority.

Wage discrimination affects not only the working class, but also the family and economy of the country as a whole. Therefore, the Women's Bureau of Department of Labor has issued newsletter to educate employers about the laws, which aims to eliminate workplace discrimination in any form.

The Equal Pay Act ensures that men and women working at the same organization get paid equally for substantially equal work. The act covers work that requires skill, effort and responsibility and is performed by men and women with similar working conditions.

Income under the Equal Pay Act includes all remuneration including salary, perks and incentives in any other form. Pay discrimination is justified on grounds such as seniority, performance incentive or merit.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 1984 prohibits discrimination in any form, including pay, at workplace based on factors such as race, color, religion, national origin and sex. This is applicable to all employers employing more than 15 workers. Title VII also prohibits any kind of discrimination which leads women to low-paying jobs or unfairly denies promotions to them.

Executive order 11246 prohibits federal contractors and subcontractors from discriminating between employees based on certain factors including sex. Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, 2009 makes discriminatory remuneration actionable under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has been entrusted with the responsibility of enforcing both the Civil Rights Act and the Equal Pay Act.

Source: DOL.gov, "An Employer's Guide to Equal Pay," April 2012

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