Big Law and Pay Equity: What Your Peers Are Saying

In “Big Law & Pay Equity: What Your Peers Are Saying,” Sanford Heisler Sharp LLP partners Alexandra Harwin and Melinda Koster, leaders of the firm’s discrimination and harassment practice, examine lessons learned from a proliferation of state legislation and court rulings on pay equity and offer concrete steps that all employers, including law firms, can take to close the gender pay gap and build a hand – fairer labor.

Employers nationwide “should exercise caution” when it comes to relying on wage history to set salary, Harwin and Koster say. And law firms, when hiring partners or side associates, should set the salary based on the duties of the position, rather than the lawyer’s previous compensation.

Next, we hear from Lori Andrus, a partner at Andrus Anderson LLP in San Francisco, who says law firm diversity training, mentorship programs and aggressive recruiting efforts still don’t seem to be solving pay inequality. between male and female lawyers. What works, she says, is litigation.

Andrus, who is currently litigating an equal pay class action lawsuit against the Walt Disney Co., briefly examines the lessons learned from some high-profile pay equity cases. For those considering filing lawsuits, she warns that issues surrounding the “intersection” of race and gender can be tricky. Judges “have not always appreciated the complexities present in discrimination cases where gender plus minority status is at stake,” she says.

There has been a “marked increase” in the number of claims alleging alleged pay discrimination in recent years, says Angela Reddock-Wright, founder of Los Angeles-based dispute resolution firm Reddock Law Group and neutral with Judicate West.

Reddock-Wright observes that “pay equity claims rarely stand alone, but tend to be associated with claims of gender discrimination, harassment, or other workplace violations.”

She offers practical guidance for plaintiffs and defense attorneys on how to prepare for and approach mediation and settlement in equal pay disputes.

Finally, Joan C. Williams, director of the Center for WorkLife Law at UC Hastings College of the Law, intervenes. She explains how biases in home credit, in-group favoritism, and other factors cause gender wage inequality, and suggests some remedies.

Read overviews of pay equity legal issues and possible solutions by clicking on the authors’ names below.

Join us again for more pay equity trends next week.

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