Missouri Equal Pay/Comparable Worth: What you need to know

The Missouri Equal Pay Act prohibits employers from paying women less than men in the same establishment for the same quantity and quality of the same classification of work (MO Rev. Stat. Sec. 290.400 et seq.). The Act covers all employers, regardless of size.
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Variations in pay are permissible, if they are based in good faith upon differences in:
• Seniority
• Length of service
• Ability
• Skill
• Duties
• Hours or shifts worked
• Restrictions on heavy lifting
• Any factor other than sex
The Missouri Human Rights Act prohibits employers from compensation discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, ancestry, age (40 to 70 years), or disability (MO Rev. Stat. Sec. 213.055). The Act covers private employers with six or more employees and all state and local government agencies, regardless of size.
Under the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009, the federal fair employment laws were amended so that each paycheck affected by an employer's prior discriminatory practice or decision constitutes an unlawful discriminatory act that triggers a new deadline for filing a pay discrimination claim. An employee alleging discrimination must be able to show that the paycheck or other compensation was affected by a past discriminatory act.
The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that an employer cannot defend a wage disparity between opposite-sex employees merely by showing that the male employee negotiated a higher salary than the female employee (Drum v. Leeson Elec. Corp., 565 F.3d 1071 (8th Cir. 2009)). The employer in this case promoted a female employee and increased her salary but then hired a man to fill the position she ...

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