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Larson on Employment Discrimination
Copyright 2017, Matthew Bender & Company, Inc., a member of the LexisNexis Group.

6-109 Larson on Employment Discrimination 109.syn


Equal Pay Act Remedies


Lex K. Larson, Esq.

Chapter Summary


In general, the Equal Pay Act affords the same remedies as the Wage-Hour Act affords for violation of minimum wage provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. These remedies include consent judgments, "hot goods" injunctions, and injunctions against future violations. Aggrieved employees, or the EEOC on their behalf, may sue for unpaid wages and liquidated damages in an equal amount, plus attorney's fees and costs. This chapter, from Larson on Employment Discrimination (Matthew Bender), provides an overview of these remedies, with particular discussion of the case law which has arisen in wage suits concerning damages. In addition, retaliation against complaining employees is subject to civil remedies and criminal penalties, and the chapter explains the scope of this protection.

The EEOC is charged with supervising settlements of EPA claims; employees accepting a supervised payment of "withheld" back wages waive their rights to sue for damages. If a claim is settled after an employee brings suit, the court will review the agreement to ensure fairness. Injunctions are available under the "hot goods" section of the Wage-Hour Law, and the EEOC may also secure injunctions forbidding specific illegal acts or enjoining future violations. However, an individual may not sue for injunctive relief, and the chapter explains the procedural effects of this provision, and further explains the penalties which apply if the employer continues to violate the EPA after an injunction is entered.

An individual may sue to recover wages unlawfully withheld and if successful is entitled to unpaid wages and liquidated damages, but issues have arisen over method of computation. There is an exception to the statute's provision for liquidated damages if an employer establishes that it acted in good faith and with reasonable grounds to believe it was not violating the Act, and the chapter reviews cases determining "good faith." The back pay period extends back two years from the time the lawsuit was commenced unless a willful violation is shown, in which case the back pay period is three years, however the courts disagree as to whether the showing of willfulness for statute of limitations purposes is the same as what is required to show that the employer is liable for liquidated damages.

While unions, like employers, are subject to the equal pay provisions of the FLSA, the remedies available against unions are more circumscribed. A union may be enjoined by the EEOC from violating the Act, but there is no express provision for monetary liability and the U.S. Supreme Court has held that an employer has no right of contribution from a union under the EPA, although there is still a question of whether the EEOC can require a union to share in any damage award. Finally, the chapter discusses compensatory and punitive damages against an employer who retaliates against an employee for asserting rights under the EPA, analyzing what conduct triggers the protection, and employer defenses.

Larson on Employment Discrimination (Matthew Bender) provides complete analysis of all major federal anti-discrimination statutes, which bar employment discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, and disability. Larson's also includes extensive appendices containing the current version of all major federal anti-discrimination statutes (including Title VII, the Equal Pay Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act). In addition, the treatise contains practice forms covering all phases of discrimination litigation, including EEOC proceedings, settlement, summary disposition, and jury instructions.


Employment discrimination,Equal Pay Act,Wage-hour Act,Fair Labor Standards Act,Equal Pay Act remedies,hot goods injunctions,injunctions against future employees,EEOC,unpaid wages,retaliation


For complete discussion of the Federal Equal Pay Act, see Part XXVI, Equal Pay.

For a complete discussion of Title VII remedies in comparison, see Part XXII, Chapters 90-97.


For a definitive and complete guide to labor and employment law written by authorities in the field of labor and employment, such as Lex Larson, Peter Lareau, and Jonathan Mook, see Labor and Employment Law (Matthew Bender).

For coverage of all aspects of federal and state laws governing minimum wage, overtime, and child labor standards, see Wages & Hours: Law and Practice (Matthew Bender).

For review of employment policies and practices unique to corporate counsel, model procedures and policies, and coverage of topics including discrimination, hiring and firing issues, investigations, EEOC mediation, and record retention see Corporate Counsel Solutions: Employment Policies and Practices (Matthew Bender).

For a comprehensive, up-to-date treatise analyzing every aspect of civil rights and including tried-and-true practice forms, for matters relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employment discrimination, age discrimination, privacy issues, property rights, fair housing, prisoners' rights, and voting rights,see Civil Rights Actions (Matthew Bender).

For comprehensive coverage of the most explosive issues in labor law today, including an "Employee Relations Guide" detailing preventative practices, and a practice appendix with forms and checklists, see Unjust Dismissal (Matthew Bender).
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