Arizona Equal Pay/Comparable Worth laws & HR compliance analysis

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

Arizona's Equal Pay Law prohibits employers from paying employees of one sex wages at a lower rate than it pays to employees of the opposite sex in the same establishment for the same quantity and quality of work in the same classification. Agreements to work for a wage lower than that paid for the same work to employees of the opposite sex are void and unenforceable. The Law applies to all employers, both public and private, regardless of size (AZ Rev. Stat. Sec. 23-340 et seq.).
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Variations in pay for male and female employees in the same classification of work are allowed if based on:
• Seniority
• Length of service
• Ability and skill
• Difference in duties or services performed
• Hours of work, shift, or time of day worked
• Restrictions on lifting objects in excess of specified weight
• Other reasonable factors other than sex
Such pay variations must also be exercised in good faith.
Under a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, an employee’s prior salary, alone or in combination with other factors, does not justify a wage differential under the federal Equal Pay Act (EPA) because reliance on an employee’s prior salary when setting his or her starting salary perpetuates the gender discrimination that the EPA was enacted to eradicate (Rizo v. Yovino, 887 F.3d 453 (9th Cir. 2018)).
The Arizona Industrial Commission enforces the Equal Pay Law if the amount of unpaid wages is $2,500 or less (AZ Admin. Code Sec. R20-5-1006). A claim must be filed within 1 year of the accrual of the claim. Once it receives a complaint, the Commission is authorized to take any action necessary to enforce the payment of the amount owed to the employee, as determined by the Commission.
An employee may also file a civil action in state court to recover wages due (

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