"Equal pay" quiz!

Hot darn! Two Friday quizzes in a row!

How much do you know about pay equity? Take our quiz and find out! The usual rules apply: The answers immediately follow the questions, and if you cheat, I'll be none the wiser. 

All of this week's questions relate to federal law.

"Show me the money!"

Ready? Here we go:

No. 1: According to official U.S. labor statistics, women are paid roughly 82 cents for every dollar that men are paid.



ANSWER: Yep (sorry, I meant "True"), that's what the statistics say. (These numbers are from 2017, the most recent data published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.) Women as a group are definitely paid less than men as a group.

No. 2: The "82-cent statistic" doesn't prove that sex discrimination is causing the pay gap because it fails to take into account what?

A. Length of time in the workforce

B. Positions held

C. Education

D. Career interruptions

E. Whether a particular job entails strenuous physical labor or danger, and therefore commands a higher pay rate

F. Geography, including rural versus urban

G. B and C

H. All of the above

ANSWER: H. The "82-percent statistic" is based only on a comparison of the pay rates of all full-time working females earning wages or salaries with the pay rates of all full-time working males earning wages or salaries. There are many non-discriminatory variables that could be causing the gender pay gap, apart from sex discrimination. Although sex discrimination is a possibility, we'd have to control for these other factors before being able to reach that conclusion.

"By my calculations, we have a gender-based pay disparity!"

No. 3: Google was recently in the news after it conducted an internal compensation study. What did the study find about gender-based disparities in pay at Google?

A. Women earned 82 cents for every dollar that their similarly situated male counterparts earned.

B. Many men were paid less than their similarly situated female counterparts.

C. Among similarly situated employees, there was no gender-based pay gap whatsoever.

ANSWER: B. No kidding! News reports indicate that about 8,000 men in a software engineer job classification at Google had to get pay bumps to catch up with their female counterparts.

No. 4. A federal judge recently vacated the stay of an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission "equal pay" initiative, meaning that the initiative will take effect at some point in the not-too-distant future. What was the initiative?

A. More aggressive pursuit of employers who are accused of pay discrimination.

B. "Priority processing" of charges alleging discriminatory pay in violation of Title VII or the Equal Pay Act.

C. Mandatory on-site investigations of charges alleging discriminatory pay in violation of Title VII or the Equal Pay Act.

D. A requirement that employers provide pay data with their annual EEO-1 reports.

ANSWER: D. I blogged about this earlier in the week. By the way, at this time we still don't know when the EEO-1 reports with pay data will be due. The current deadline for EEO-1 reports without pay data is May 31 (extended from March 31 because of the government shutdown). My best guess is that the EEOC may extend the deadline even further to give employers a chance to gather the pay data. It's also possible that the government will appeal the court's decision, and seek a stay of the vacation of the stay (are you still with me?) while the appeal is pending.

"Seems like we have way too much vacatin' goin' on here."

No. 5. The U.S. Supreme Court recently vacated an equal pay decision from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit decision said that use of "salary history" to determine pay violated the federal Equal Pay Act because salary history was not a legitimate "factor other than sex." Why did the Supreme Court vacate that decision?

A. The Ninth Circuit judge who was the decisive vote (and who wrote the opinion) died between the time that the vote was taken and the time that the decision was issued.

B. "Salary history" is a legitimate "factor other than sex." Therefore, the Ninth Circuit was full of baloney. With all due respect.

C. Res ipsa loquitur.

D. The Equal Pay Act is an unconstitutional violation of the Commerce Clause.

ANSWER: A. I wrote about this one last week. Rest in peace, Judge Reinhardt.

No. 6: What is the name of the woman who inspired President Obama in 2009 to sign legislation extending the statute of limitations on equal pay claims?

A. Michelle Obama

B. Lulu Luddbutter

C. Lilly Ledbetter

D. Layla Loddbruster

ANSWER: C, of course! (Although I wouldn't rule out Michelle Obama, either.)


5-6 correct: Lean in, baby! You are an equal pay guru!

3-4 correct: Your worth is comparable to the best of them. Good job!

1-2 correct: Um, you might be past due for an internal audit. 

0 correct: Yikes! At the rate you're going, it'll take you until 2059 to catch up.

Just kidding! Everyone did great! Here's your participation trophy:

"I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and, doggone it, people like me!"

Image Credits: From flickr, Creative Commons license: Vacay by Robbie Shade, trophy by David Luder. Baby girl from Adobe Stock. Google Doodle is of Russian mathematician Olga Ladyzhenskaya.

Robin Shea has 30 years' experience in employment litigation, including Title VII and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (including the Amendments Act). 
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