Lieff Cabraser Civil Justice Blog
pay equity blog

HR Dive: How employers can correct course on pay equity

New piece by columnist Ryan Golden of HR Dive includes commentary from Lieff Cabraser Employment Law attorney Kelly Dermody

During the recent annual conference for the Labor and Employment Law section of the American Bar Association (ABA), key members conducted a panel discussing recommendations for employers tackling pay equity.

In his piece published in HR Dive, writer Ryan Golden notes that panelists described pay discrimination in the workplace as all-too common, often rampant. Golden cites the use of salary history questions as a strong factor leading to pay gaps based on gender and race by “locking in lower starting wages for women and minority job candidates.”

On the topic of employee salary expectations and how to navigate the pay negotiation process, Lieff Cabraser managing partner Kelly Dermody encouraged employers to proceed with caution, stating “if you’re going to ask people about their expectations, you better be ready to synthesize what you’re paying people across the group.”  Ms. Dermody went on to explain how integral it is for employers to take into account that people with similar qualifications, experience and responsibilities should get paid the same for doing the same job, even if a female or minority applicant gives a lower expectation of starting pay.

When commenting in further detail on the importance of equity in salary negotiations, Ms. Dermody stated, “you shouldn’t have situations where you’re having pay inversions purely because of the confidence level or the assumptions made by people walking in the door…I think employers get into trouble when they basically stretch their salaries to accommodate what one-offs want, and don’t look at their entire salary groupings to make sure that that is a rational pay for the group.”

“Otherwise you’re basically rewarding the more aggressive negotiators, and you’re not actually paying people for what they’re doing at your company,” she explained.

To read the full article on HR Dive’s site click here.

About Kelly Dermody

The Chair of Lieff Cabraser’s employment practice group and Managing Partner of Lieff Cabraser’s San Francisco office, Kelly M. Dermody specializes in class and collective actions on behalf of plaintiffs in employment and consumer cases, including gender discrimination cases against GoogleMicrosoft, and Goldman Sachs. Her additional case work includes wage suppression claims against technology, healthcare, and academic institutions; overtime and lost pay lawsuits for low-wage workers, I/T professionals, and foreign nationals working for American corporations; and ERISA claims that she has tried on behalf of employees and retirees for pension plan abuses.