According to Pew Research Center, women only earn 84 cents for every dollar their male counterparts earn in the same occupations every year. This means that women must work, on average, an extra 40 days each year to equal the earning capacity of males in the same field. While this gender pay gap is steadily decreasing from where it was many years ago, the gap still exists despite efforts to ensure that women and men are treated equally in the workplace. To ensure women are given the same rights as their male coworkers, Pennsylvania passed laws that make it illegal for employers to pay their female employees any differently than their male counterparts.
The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry reports that the Equal Pay Law, enacted in 1960, is still in effect today and prohibits employers from discriminating against women in their employment through their pay. If employers pay their women employees less than their male employees for doing the same work requiring equal skills under the same working conditions, they may be guilty of sexual discrimination under this law. However, wages may vary when seniority, merit increases and training are involved, and sex is not a deciding factor.
If employers are found to be in violation of this law, they may face steep penalties, including monetary fines and prison time. Additionally, affected workers may have cause to file a civil lawsuit against their employers, requesting payment of all damages they have endured due to their experience. This can include collection of unpaid wages, an equal amount in damages, and legal fees and costs associated with the lawsuit.