Policy Watch

Workplace Equity



Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 and the Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibit wage discrimination in the workplace. Jobs that have the same functions and similar working conditions and that require substantially the same skills must be compensated equally with allowable variations based on experience, qualifications, seniority, geographic location and performance.



Everyone in the workplace deserves fair treatment, yet 1 in 3 Americans still believe their workplace fosters sexual harassment, and pay inequity based on gender and race continues to persist. A challenge in addressing pay disparity understanding how much is attributable to discrimination as opposed to legitimate pay practices.

SHRM Position

  • Workplace Culture: SHRM urges employers to foster healthy workplace cultures. Strong anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies are important, but culture is key to prevention. 
  • Pay Audits: SHRM believes public policy should incentivize employers to proactively conduct self-evaluations of pay and correct improper disparities in compensation. 
  • Transparency: SHRM encourages employers to have discussions about pay expectations and share with their employee’s information on how pay decisions are made.
  • Federal Framework: SHRM advocates for a federal standard of equal pay for equal work, rather than different standards at state and local levels. 

Bottom Line

Harassment of any kind has no place at work and people deserve to be treated fairly. Positive workplace cultures discourage harassment and discrimination and promote pay decisions based on bona fide business factors.

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