Based on feedback at NILG, we thought our clients may have interest in some background research that we shared in our NILG session: We Might be Paid Differently, But Are Our Jobs Really the Same? A significant portion of the presentation focused on the results of an Equal Pay Act and Title VII case law review. In particular, we presented a summary of court rulings related to what constitutes similarly situated with respect to the work performed, responsibility level, and the skills and qualifications required of a job. (Our readers may recognize this language as the definition of similarly situated as defined by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.) The results below may come as a surprise:
- Employees in different job titles have been found to not be similarly situated. No surprise there.
- Employees in the same job title have been found to not be similarly situated. Similarly situated cannot be directly inferred from job title. A job title would have to reflect true similarity in work performed, responsibility, skills, and qualifications.
- Employees in different, but similar, job titles have been found to be similarly situated. As noted above, if job titles do not meaningfully differentiate positions in terms of work performed, responsibility, skills, and qualifications, individuals across titles may be combined. This is the only instance in which individuals from different titles were allowed to be combined in an analysis.
The take home conclusion? Under a Title VII standard, the basis for combining individuals into a group for pay analysis must be similarity in work performed, responsibility, skills, and qualifications. Pay Analysis Groups that contain such dissimilar jobs as accountants and engineers are not likely to be considered by the courts to be considered similarly situated.
By Kayo Sady, Senior Consultant, and Mike Aamodt, Principal Consultant, at DCI Consulting Group