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It may come as a surprise to many New York employers that as many as five separate federal, state, and local laws prohibit pay differences between male and female (and non-binary) employees performing equal jobs: (1) the Equal Pay Act; (2) Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; (3) the New York State Equal Pay Act; (4) the New York State Human Rights Law; and (5) the New York City Human Rights Law. The penalties for violations can add up, quickly reaching into the tens of thousands of dollars per employee, on top of unwanted publicity involving allegations of sex discrimination.

Equal pay between the sexes is an issue that is garnering increased attention, propelled in part by news about pay differentials across industries. As of 2017, nationally female employees earned only 80 percent of their male counterparts, though New York was nearest to parity (88 percent) of all 50 states. At the same time, state and local governments have been enacting laws intended to narrow the pay gap. There is even an annual Equal Pay Day, which seeks to increase public awareness of the issue.

Related: Black women’s equal pay day highlights massive pay gap

With this increased attention to equal pay issues and enormous potential liability, it is crucial that employers act quickly to identify and fix equal pay violations.

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