What does it mean for jobs to be “substantially equal” under the Equal Pay Act?

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The Equal Pay Act requires that an employer pay its male and female employees equal pay for equal work. The jobs need not be identical, but they must be substantially equal. Substantial equality is measured by job content, not job titles.

The Act is a strict liability law, which means that intent does not matter. If a women is paid less than male for substantially similar work, then the law has been violated, regardless of the employer’s intent.

This strict liability, however, does not mean that pay disparities always equal liability. The EPA has several built-in defenses, including seniority, merit, quantity

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