Many states have chosen to expand upon these protections by passing increased minimum wage laws, expanded overtime rates, and discrimination protection based on a person’s race, religion or sexual orientation. Tennessee has declined to do so.
Despite this, the federally mandated minimums do apply, and the Tennessee Equal Pay Act codifies protections for workers based on sex. Therefore, if your pay is unequal because of one of the above-stated reasons it is important you seek the counsel of a Nashville equal pay act lawyer to recover what you deserve. Our experienced employment attorneys have years of experience dealing with these types of claims and can assist you in assessing your legal options.
Tennessee Law Regarding Equal Pay
The Equal Pay Act is listed under TN Code 50-2-202. It states that no employer may discriminate against employees who do the same job based on sex.
However, as a Nashville equal pay act attorney can explain, employers may still offer differing wages to different employees, even those of different sexes, if the disparity is based on seniority, merit, or quotas. The statute continues on to state that no person may be retaliated against for exercising their rights under this law.
Where this law differs from the Federal version is that the Tennessee Equal Pay Act covers all employers. One of the caveats included in the Federal law is that the regulations only apply to employers with at least 15 employees.
Therefore, Tennessee has taken the initiative in passing a law that provides greater protection to employees than is required by the baseline of Federal law.
Enforcing the Equal Pay Act
Despite the expanded laws created by Tennessee Code 50-2-202, the enforcement of this law must be handled by Federal agencies and courts.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is the federal agency responsible for investigating, prosecuting and ultimately deciding many cases of workplace discrimination. In order to begin this process, employees must file a formal complaint listing:
- When and where the incident took place,
- The name of the employee,
- The name of the employer, and
- A narrative of what happened.
The EEOC will then investigate the claim and if there is a finding of discrimination, the EEOC will determine how the worker is to be compensated. These compensation packages are most often made up of back pay and benefits not received due to the discrimination.
Additionally, plaintiffs through a Nashville equal pay act lawyer may be awarded compensation for mental anguish, emotional distress, and loss of enjoyment of life.
In situations where the EEOC does not choose to take action, the worker will be issued a right to sue form. Once this form is issued a worker may file a lawsuit in federal court. There is a limited time to do so, however, as all cases initiated with a right to sue form must be started within 90 days of the receipt of the letter.
Speak with a Nashville Equal Pay Attorney Today
People have the right to work with dignity and respect. One of the most common ways that people are deprived of this dignity is in pay discrimination based on sex.
Our Nashville employment attorneys at Employment and Consumer Law Group work with people who have been paid unfair wages, or who have been terminated after standing up for themselves, to get the equitable treatment that they deserve.
We assist clients in filing complaints with the EEOC and, if necessary, pursuing civil lawsuits in federal court. It can take a lot of courage to stand up to a hostile work environment, but by working together, we can fight for a positive outcome. Contact our firm today.