A MINISTER, A MULLAH AND A MOHEL…
simultaneously report to the Herring Brook District Office of a federal agency for their first day of work. They were each hired as Customer Service Representatives for the agency. The Mullah and the Mohel were given starting salaries of GS-9, Step 1 while the Minister was given a GS-7, Step 1. The only obvious difference among them was that the Minister was a woman and the other two men. By the end of the week, they were good friends and got into a conversation at lunch where they shared their starting salaries. After a short conversation, the only reason they could identify for the difference is that the Minister had a lower salary in her previous private sector CSR job than the other two did. Otherwise, they were equally qualified for the job. So, off they went to HR to find out if that was the reason–and lo and behold it was. The HR Specialist pointed out how the two men refused to take the job unless the agency matched their previous salaries doing essentially the same private sector CSR work the Minister did. What do you think happened next?
Well, one of them, we will not tell you who, kept up with employment law developments in the hope of becoming a union steward soon. The new decision from the 9th circuit court of appeals practically fell into his lap. It held that salary differences between sexes doing the same work cannot be justified solely based on the fact that one of them employees had a lower salary at his/her last job. If that is all an employer is relying on to justify different salaries between similarly situated men and women, it is in all likelihood illegal discrimination. Here is short law firm article about the decision that will get you off to a good start if you want to deal with a similar problem. “Salary History Is Not a Permitted ‘Factor Other Than Sex’ under the Equal Pay Act.”
The next day they all read that article as well as the case. While they prayed on it, they also decided not to let the Almighty carry the burden of getting this injustice corrected alone, but got ahold of the union steward, an atheist no less, who filed the paperwork.