Court rules salary history can be used to set new pay

Tennessee workers who may be facing a discriminatory wage disparity may be interested to learn that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit has ruled that an employee's salary history could be used to set pay. This decision contradicts other appeals court rulings, meaning that the U.S. Supreme Court may need to resolve the issue.

A female math consultant learned that she was paid less than her male colleagues even though they all had the same job title. She filed a lawsuit against the employer, claiming that the wage disparity was a violation of the Equal Pay Act. A district court ruled in favor of the female employee, arguing that the lower pay perpetuated wage disparity between men and women.

However, the federal appeals court disagreed and reversed the lower court's ruling. The court stated that using prior salary to set the new salary did not violate the Equal Pay Act. In this particular case, the employer argued that its pay policy was objective by always providing new employees with a 5 percent raise over their prior salary. This prevented favoritism and allowed them to have consistent hiring practices.

Although the federal Equal Pay Act protects employees from potential wage disparity, state hour and wage laws might offer broader coverage. An attorney may assist with providing proof that the wage disparity was caused by discrimination. This evidence could potentially include a pattern in the employer's hiring practices. The employee could then seek compensation for the income that should have been received.

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information
Free Consultation

Get Started With Your Free, No-Obligation Consultation

Let us be clear when we say "you pay us nothing unless we win." Your relationship with our law firm begins with a free consultation. You meet directly with one of our experienced lawyers. When you become our client, we never ask you to open your checkbook. We work on a contingency-fee basis, which means our fee only comes from the proceeds from a successful verdict or settlement.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

McCune Zenner Happell, PLLC The Parklane Building, 5200 Maryland Way Suite 120 Brentwood, TN 37027 Phone: 615-953-8337 Phone: 615-425-3476 Fax: 615-251-6958 Brentwood Law Office Map

  • The National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers
  • The Best Lawyers in America
  • Nation's Premier NAFBA Top Ten Ranking 2014