Is it an Equal Pay violation to pay a bonus to one employee and not the other in the same position?

I was hired 2 1/2 years ago in a management position. There are two of us at the location that share the same management title and we have the same job description. When I was hired, I was paid 20% less than my counterpart and was not eligible for the Management bonus program that he is eligible for.

We essentially have the same amount of experience but I have a Graduate degree, and my counterpart has no degree. After working a year with the company, I found out that my counterpart received a 25% bonus for the Management Bonus Program. I approached my manager and asked why I was not eligible for the same program, I was told that it would be discussed in my next review. To appease me I was told I would get an ad hoc 3% bonus.

This year my counterpart again received a 25% bonus, I have now been told that it will be looked at next year and I didn't even receive a 3% bonus. All my performance reviews have exceeded expectations.

Is this an equal pay violation?

1 answer  |  asked Sep 9, 2009 1:27 PM [EST]  |  applies to Kentucky

Answers (1)

Joseph Wibbels
The Equal Pay Act requires that employers provide equal pay for men and women who perform equal work. However, "unequal" pay is not prohibited if it is based on seniority, or merit, or on some factor other than sex. If your male counterpart is being paid his bonus based on his seniority or merit, then your employer may be able to show that it is not violating the Equal Pay Act.

If you can show that the difference in pay is not because he has been there longer than you, or that his work performance is not superior to yours, then you may be able to show a violation. In addition, if you are not given the same opportunity to earn the bonus, then there may be a violation of the Equal Pay Act or Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits gender based discrimination.

posted by Joseph Wibbels  |  Sep 10, 2009 06:26 AM [EST]

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