With the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements gaining force and bringing attention to gender pay equality, employment firm Fisher Phillips has launched an interactive map detailing pay equity laws in each of the country’s 50 states.
Following a soft opening this month, the Pay Equity Interactive Map, which can be found on Fisher Phillips’ website, went live on Feb. 22.
“The purpose of it is to be able to provide employers with an understanding of the pay equity law and landscape across the country,” said Kathleen Caminiti, a partner in New Jersey and New York who is a co-chairwoman of the firm’s pay equity practice group.
The firm has 32 offices across the country.
Caminiti said states have become more active in enacting laws dealing with pay equity, and that is information employers need.
“Many states have existing laws on their books prohibiting discrimination based on gender and those include pay disparity. But a good many states are enacting more robust legislation … such as a provision to ban salary history inquiries,” she said.
Caminiti said the time has come for employers to look closely at pay equity, an issue most recently brought to the public’s attention at the Golden Globes in January, when actresses spoke out about pay inequality. Also, Caminiti said she has seen an “explosion” of pay equity litigation, with suits targeting white-collar professions such as law and accounting, as well as industries such as pharmaceuticals.
“As a matter of social consciousness, a lot of companies are taking a pledge to evaluate pay and eliminate pay disparities,” she said. “It’s a movement that’s been in the making for 50 years. It seems that now is the time the area of pay equity is a hot topic and we expect it to continue.”
Cheryl Pinarchick, another co-chairwoman of the pay equity practice group at Fisher Philips, said there is such a patchwork of state and even local laws on pay equity that lawyers have to work hard just to keep up with them all.
“If we as a firm are struggling to do this, what must our clients be feeling and thinking?” Pinarchick said.
Because the law is evolving so rapidly, clients are “frustrated and completely challenged to make sure they are in compliance,” said Dallas-based partner Janet Hendrick, who is also a partner in the pay equity practice group.
Hendrick said the map, which is available to the public, is a valuable tool for clients. But it also serves a dual role—helping with business development.
“Its [purpose is] really to show our clients our expertise in this area,” she said. “[But] hopefully they will look at the page of our practice group … and see what kind of services we can offer.”