Employers Can Pay Woman Less Based On Previous Salaries, Federal Court Rules

Businesswoman talking in meeting

By Huffington Post

A federal court ruled on Thursday that women can indeed be paid less than men for doing the same job, based on what their previous salaries were.

According to the Associated Press, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled on Thursday to overturn a 2015 ruling from a lower court in California.

The 2015 decision, made by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Seng, stated that basing women’s salaries on their prior salaries was inherently discriminatory, since they likely faced pay discrimination due to gender bias at their former jobs. But with this new ruling, that’s no longer the case.

(TL;DR: If a woman was paid less in one job ― from pay discrimination, for example ― she may now face that same discrimination in another, and it will be totally legal.)

“This decision is a step in the wrong direction if we’re trying to really ensure that women have work opportunities of equal pay,” Deborah Rhode, a professor of gender equity law at Stanford Law School, told the AP. “You can’t allow prior discriminatory salary setting to justify future ones or you perpetuate the discrimination.”

This ruling comes less than a month after Equal Pay Day ― a day that highlights the gender pay gap and all of the harm that comes along with it, especially for black and hispanic women.

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