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  • Sherine Blackford

Pay Equity and Your Business



The Equal Pay Act of 1963 outlawed pay discrepancies between men and women. Today, there are many other protected classes that have a right to equal pay. Race, sexual orientation, and gender expressions beyond male/female are all considerations in pay equity. The emerging area is of interest to employers due to pressures from activist shareholders, government regulations, and societal changes according to Bloomberg Law.


Pay equity is when people are paid the same amount for the same work. Pay comparisons are about more than just a gender pay gap because many factors go into comparable work. Besides the actual job description, it is relevant to consider prior experience, performance, or the geographic location of the employer. The pay gap can be related to this metric of pay equity but casts a broader net over the differences in pay across different workers. Pay equity measures a narrower understanding of wages of similarly situated workers.


Montana law protects employees from discrimination in the workplace, including pay inequity. The Montana Human Rights Act (MHRA) in § 49-2-303(1)(a), MCA, makes it unlawful for an employer to “discriminate against a person in compensation…because of age, physical or mental disability, marital status, or sex.”


Employers have a responsibility to ensure that they are not discriminating against employees with pay inequity. Employers can accomplish pay equity with transparency about what it pays employees in all roles and what pay range new recruits could expect from the role. Some companies publish their statistics on pay gaps and their goals to ameliorate the issues. Many potential employees now expect this transparency. However, transparency must be balanced with private information.


Contact Blackford Carls P.C. at 406.577.2145 to discuss your employment needs.