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U5 Journal Entry
Reflect on your employment history. Were there times you felt you did not receive the pay you
felt you were entitled? Perhaps you did work outside your job description, performed work off
the clock, or felt you were not paid commensurate with your skill level or your coworkers’ pay.
Did or could you have taken any steps to address the issue? Share your thoughts on the
experience. Was there anything different you feel the employer could or should have done?
The Fair Labor Standards Act and the Equal Pay Act are two statutes which provide guidance
on wage and hour issues, along with pay discrimination issues in all workplaces. When you are
writing your journal this week remember to consider what your employer might have done
differently under federal laws and the laws in your state.
VIDEO LINK: The US needs paid family leave — for the sake of its future
Here is an opinion piece by Jessica Shortall, author, on the need for paid family leave in the US
and related workplace issues that we studied this week.
LINK: https://www.ted.com/talks/jessica_shortall_how_america_fails_new_parents_and_their_b
abies?language=en
Do you agree with Ms. Shorthall’s opinions and statements about paid family leave? Why or
why not?
Resources
Article Link: Pew Charitable Trust: http://www.pewtrusts.org/en/research-andanalysis/blogs/stateline/2014/01/23/size-of-gender-pay-gap-varies-by-state-job
Your journal entry must be at least 200 words. No references or citations are necessary.
U5 Case Study
Analyze the case and opinion in the case of Vehar v. Cole National Group, 251 Fed. Appx. 993
(6th Cir. 2007) located in your textbook on pp. 449–452.
Write a case study review of Judge Griffin’s opinion that answers the questions below. Support
your review with analysis and evidence from the unit reading and outside sources.
What are the legal issues presented in this case? Did the plaintiff establish a valid prima facie
case of pay
discrimination? Was there a basis for equal work? On what factors did the appeals court base
its decision?
Why is the other-than-sex factor that is presented by the employer insufficient to avoid a trial?
What should the employer have done differently?
You are required to use a minimum of three sources for your case study. All sources used must
be referenced; paraphrased and quoted material must have accompanying citations.
Your paper should be a minimum of two pages, not including the title and reference pages,
and should follow APA style.
UNIT V STUDY GUIDE
Wages and Hours
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit V
Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
1. Discuss the legal significance of the employer-employee relationship.
1.1 Explain the regulation of wages and hours under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
1.2 Assess the legal issues surrounding FLSA that employers face.
4. Characterize conduct that violates federal anti-discrimination laws in employment.
4.1 Determine the elements of a prima facie case of pay discrimination under the Equal Pay Act.
Course/Unit
Learning Outcomes
1.1
1.2
4.1
Learning Activity
Unit Lesson
Chapter 12
Unit V Case Study
Unit Lesson
Chapter 12
Unit V Case Study
Unit Lesson
Chapter 12
Unit V Case Study
Reading Assignment
Chapter 12:
Wages, Hours, and Pay Equity, pp. 419–455
Unit Lesson
In a 2013 survey by the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM as cited in Miller, 2014), 60
percent of employees rated pay as “very important” and 36 percent rated it as “important.” These ratings
made pay the top contributor to overall job satisfaction, surpassing job security.
While pay may not always take the top spot in survey results such as the SHRM survey, pay is usually much
higher among the leadership of an organization, and the significance and sometimes disparity of pay in the
employer-employee relationship cannot be refuted (Miller, 2014). Employees rely on compensation to support
themselves and their families. Employers have an interest in holding expenses down, including pay, but must
pay what the market requires for talent that drives the organization’s success. Employees want equitable pay
relative to their coworkers and commensurate with their skills. Employers must navigate complex legal
regulation of wages and hours, as individual states become more active in adding regulations and
requirements to existing federal law.
MHR 6401, Employment Law
1
As pay and compensation is an issue that
affects every worker in an organization,
human resources must play a key role in
setting policy and insuring practices are
fair and compliant. At the federal level
alone, there are five laws that address
compensation and equal pay. Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits
discrimination based on race, color,
national origin, gender, and religion in pay
and pay-related terms of employment,
including promotion and job placement.
The first bill signed into law by President
Obama was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay
Act of 2009. It addressed the situation
where the discriminatory act that caused
an employee in a protected category to be
paid less than a similar situated coworker
but was unaware of the disparity until it
was too late to sue. This law provides that
each paycheck of discriminatory wages is
a violation of Title VII.
UNIT x STUDY GUIDE
Title
President Obama signs into law the Lilly Ledbetter Act on January 29, 2009.
(Boghosian, 2009)
Title VII addresses wage discrimination based on any protected status. However, as women have grown to
comprise almost half of the U.S. workforce, equal pay as a gender issue has garnered a great deal of
attention. Despite the passage in 1963 of the third federal law addressing pay, and specifically pay for women
relative to men, women on average earn 79 cents of every dollar earned by men (U.S. Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission [EEOC], 2016). The Equal Pay Act requires that employers pay men and women
equally in the same establishment when they perform jobs that require the same skill, effort, and
responsibility, and when the job is performed under similar working conditions. Employers can defend pay
differences by proving that pay differences are seniority-based, established with a merit or incentive system,
or a factor other than sex, such as education or training relevant to the job (EEOC, n.d.).
Equal Pay Act cases tend to be hard to prove, often because of the broad range of factors that can be a factor
other than sex. Oftentimes, employers chalk up salary differentials to negotiation skills. However, in a federal
appeals court case, the court held that an employer is not allowed to satisfy its obligation of proving a wage
disparity was based on a factor other than sex by showing that the male negotiated a higher salary (Drum v.
Leeson Elec. Corp., 2009). A female human resource manager was promoted into another position and her
male replacement negotiated a salary of more than $20,000 more than the female had been paid. The court
held that the employer had not justified the difference in the two employees’ pay. The court also rejected the
employer’s argument that the replacement was hired under a new salary structure that was tied to market
rates, while the female employee had been hired under an earlier policy that set pay at slightly below market.
Employers should therefore be cautious in allowing negotiation to create a salary disparity unless there are
also skills, experience, or some other objective factor not related to sex that justify a difference. Further, if a
higher rate of pay for a successor is desired, the employer should consider making salary adjustments for
employees in the same position.
As part of the efforts to investigate and identify potential pay discrimination, EEOC has adopted new a EEO-1
Report requiring employers with more than 100 employees to submit pay information. The EEO-1 Report is a
document that for the length of the EEOC’s existence has required some employers to collect and submit
data on employees’ race, ethnicity, and sex in 10 job categories. Beginning in 2018, employers with more
than 100 employees will need to require and report W-2 income data for employees in the 10 job categories,
broken down by 12 pay bands. In addition, employers must report hours worked by employees in each job
category and pay band. Actual hours worked must be reported for nonexempt employees, and for exempt
employees, who generally do not track their hours, employers may use 40 hours per week for full-time and 20
hours per week for part-time employees, or provide actual hours if the hours are tracked (EEO-1 Joint
Reporting Committee, n.d.).
MHR 6401, Employment Law
2
The other federal laws that address pay discrimination are the National Labor UNIT
Relations
Act (NLRA)
x STUDY
GUIDEand
Executive Orders (EO) applicable to federal contractors. The NLRA prohibits employers
from taking adverse
Title
action against non-supervisory employees for discussing their wages or other working conditions with
coworkers, even if there is no union involved. The issues under this law are discussed in another unit. For
federal contractors, EO 11246 mirrors Title VII by prohibiting pay and other discriminations by federal
contractors and subcontractors. The Obama Administration increased regulation of federal contractors
through EO 13665, which became effective in January 2016, prohibiting firing or discriminating against
employees and applicants who ask about, discuss, or disclose their own pay or that of another employee or
applicant. Additionally, EO 13673 requires that effective January 2017, federal contractors must provide a
“paycheck transparency” notice to all workers on a weekly basis specifying the hours and overtime hours
worked for nonexempt employees, rate of pay, gross pay, and itemized additions to or deductions from gross
pay (Executive Order No. 13665, 2014).
The action in the pay equity area has by no means been limited to the federal government. Several states
have enacted tough laws on fair pay that go beyond the Equal Pay Act, and more states are expected to
follow. California, New York, Maryland, and Massachusetts led the way with new laws that broaden the
definition of jobs that are regarded as comparable for purposes of comparing the pay of males and females.
The standard used is substantially similar as opposed to the substantially equal standard under the Equal
Pay Act.
Employers must continue to work to ensure that pay remains a positive term of employment and not subject
to challenge by federal or state agencies or the employer’s workers. HR professionals must review pay
practices, identify any issues, and correct areas of pay disparity. Pay in some areas may need to be adjusted
upward to rectify areas of inequality. These costs will be lower than the legal and public relations costs of
being sued for pay discrimination.
The federal Fair Labor Standards Act also regulates wages and hours. This is an area especially fraught with
risk for employers; wage and hour cases are the most active types of litigation in the area of employment law.
According to Vehling (2016), litigation in this area has exploded since 2000, and the number of cases have
increased every year to a high of almost 9,000 filings in 2015. Issues that fuel this explosion in litigation
include minimum wage rate hikes passed by many states and municipalities, issues related to independent
contractor classification, and joint employer issues.
There are many hot areas in the wage and hour realm, and one of those is the use of unpaid interns. The
DOL uses a restrictive six-factor test to determine if the intern is appropriately unpaid. Appellate courts have
recently rejected this test in favor of a primary beneficiary test, which applies flexible factors to determine the
primary beneficiary of the interns’ work – the organization or the individual. Key factors that an employer
should consider in designing an intern program include a duration that is not excessive in terms of the period
of beneficial learning and the displacement of paid employees by the intern so that interns are not doing work
that would otherwise be done by paid workers.
Perhaps the most significant development in the wage and hour area in decades was derailed in 2016 after a
federal judge issued a preliminary injunction just days before new regulations were initially set to become
effective on December 1, 2016. The new rules were set to make over four million exempt employees eligible
for overtime pay. Under existing rules, employees who make up to $23,660 annually and engage in work that
is exempt under the administrative, professional, or executive exemptions do not have to be paid overtime.
The new rules would have required that an employee must make at least $47,476 per year and perform
exempt work to avoid having to be paid overtime pay. Further, the $47,476 amount was to increase every
three years to keep pace with inflation. However, a federal court prevented the regulation from going into
effect and put the future of the regulation into question when it ruled that the “significant increase to the salary
level creates essentially a de facto salary-only test” (Nevada v. U.S. Dep’t of Labor, 2016, p. 14). In Nevada v.
U.S. Dep’t of Labor, (2016) the court held that “Congress did not intend salary to categorically exclude an
employee with EAP [executive, administrative, and professional] duties from the exemption” (p. 14). This
regulation, or another version of this regulation, may still be considered and implemented in the future.
In the busy areas of employment law that relate to pay and hours worked, HR professionals must stay
updated on recent developments, ahead of regulators, and in tune with the needs and goals of applicants
and workers.
MHR 6401, Employment Law
3
References
UNIT x STUDY GUIDE
Title
Boghosian, J. (2009, January 29). President Barack Obama signs Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009
[Photograph]. Retrieved from https://obamawhitehouse.archives.gov/blog/2014/04/08/taking-actionhonor-national-equal-pay-day
Drum v. Leeson Elec. Corp., 565 F.3d 1071 (8th Cir. 2009).
EEO-1 Joint Reporting Committee. (n.d.). Standard Form 100, Rev/ March 2018, Employer information report
EEO-1 instruction booklet. Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/employers/eeo1survey/2017surveyinstructions.cfm
Executive Order No. 13665, 79 Fed. Reg. 20749 (Apr. 11, 2014).
Miller, S. (2014, May 12). Why pay is driving employee satisfaction. Retrieved from
https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/compensation/pages/pay-drives-satisfaction.aspx
Nevada v. U.S. Dep’t of Labor, Civil Action No. 4:16-CV-00731 (E.D. Tex. 2016).
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (n.d.). Facts about equal pay and compensation
discrimination. Retrieved from https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/fs-epa.cfm
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. (2016). Written testimony of Lisa M. Maatz Vice President
of Government Relations American Association of University Women. Retrieved from
https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/meetings/3-16-16/maatz.cfm
Vehling, A. (2016, January 12). FLSA class actions to hit record high in 2016. Law360. Retrieved from
http://www.law360.com/articles/745603/flsa-class-actions-to-hit-record-high-in-2016
Suggested Reading
The following PowerPoint presentations are supplements to the textbook chapter readings and are provided
for further knowledge and review of the unit materials.
Chapter 12:
Click here to access the PowerPoint presentation.
Click here to access a PDF file of the PowerPoint presentation.
Learning Activities (Non-Graded)
Non-Graded Learning Activities are provided to aid students in their course of study. You do not have to
submit them. If you have questions, contact your instructor for further guidance and information.
At the end of each chapter of your textbook, scenario-driven questions provide legal issues and realistic
situations that relate to employment law. Exploring these questions allows you the opportunity to further your
understanding of the concepts in each chapter and prepares you for similar situations you may encounter in
your workplace.
?
Review the Chapter 12 questions in your textbook on pages 455–457.
MHR 6401, Employment Law
4

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