Among the things it is critical for public entities to be careful in is their pay practices towards employees. One thing such organizations should make sure to avoid in such practices is conduct that could be viewed as discriminatory. Difficult legal situations can arise for public entities when they are accused of having engaged in pay discrimination against a worker based on gender or some other protected status.
When responding to allegations of pay discrimination, tailoring one’s response approach to the severity and complexity of the situation can be critical for a public entity. Skilled public entity lawyers understand what developing a well-tailored approach to such a situation involves and can assist public entities with this process.
It appears that there are some unique gender and pay concerns related to the public sector. A recent report points to this sector seeing a particularly big gender pay gap.
In the report, 21 different work fields were reviewed for how big of a pay gap they had between male and female workers. Public administration was one of these fields. The report found the pay gap in public administration to be one of the largest among the reviewed fields. Only three fields showed a larger gap. According to the report, in public administration, the average wage for women is 25 percent lower than the average wage for men.
Many different things can contribute to a gender-related pay gap. When it comes to the public sector, some speculate that factors unique to the sector can cause pay differences that occurred in the past to stick around as a historical artifact for a particularly long time. Some argue this is why this sector is seeing such a big gap.
The pay gap is a very important thing for public entities to given attention to. It can be critical for public entities to understand the potential causes of such a gap and what they can do to combat such a gap and ensure their pay practices are fair. Avoiding gender discrimination or the appearance of such discrimination in a public sector workplace is not only important from a fairness perspective, but also from a perspective of trying to keep a public entity free of legal trouble.
Source: Governing, “Why Is Government One of the Worst Industries for Equal Pay?,” Katherine Barrett and Richard Greene, May 18, 2017