Tennessee Equal Pay/Comparable Worth laws & HR compliance analysis

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

The Tennessee Equal Pay Act prohibits an employer from discriminating in the same establishment on the basis of sex by paying any employee a lower rate of pay than the employer pays to any employee of the opposite sex for comparable work on jobs that require comparable skill, effort, and responsibility, and that are performed under similar working conditions (TN Code Sec. 50-2-202). A contract that allows an employer to pay an employee less than the full wages due under the Act is void and unenforceable. Employers that have violated the Act by paying an unlawful wage differential may not reduce any employee's wages in order to comply.
Retaliation prohibited. The Act prohibits employers from discharging or discriminating against an employee who has exercised his or her rights under the Act or has assisted in the Act's enforcement.
The Act is intended to cover any employers that are not within the scope of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and does not cover employees who are protected under the federal Equal Pay Act (EPA).
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Permitted differentials. Wage differentials are permitted if based on a seniority system, a merit system, any system that measures earnings in quality or quantity of production, or any reasonable factor other than sex.
The Tennessee Human Rights Act (Fair Employment Practices Law) prohibits employers from compensation discrimination based on race, creed, color, religion, sex, national origin, or age (TN Code Sec. 4-21-101 et seq.). The Act covers all public employers and private employers with eight or more employees, including employment agencies and labor unions.
Two federal statutes prohibit gender-based differences ...

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