NWLC Responds to Supreme Court’s Decision to Send Equal Pay Case Back to Court of Appeals

(Washington, D.C.) Yesterday, the Supreme Court took action in Yovino v Rizo, a case addressing employer justifications for paying a woman less than a comparable male employee under the federal Equal Pay Act. Last year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, held that employers’ reliance on prior salary to set compensation does not justify paying a man more than a woman for the same job. Without addressing the merits of that question, the Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit’s decision and sent the case back to the appellate court because the opinion’s author, Judge Reinhardt, passed away before the decision was issued.

The following is a statement by Emily Martin, Vice President for Education & Workplace Justice at the National Women’s Law Center:

For too long, employers’ reliance on workers’ prior salary to set compensation has allowed pay discrimination and wage gaps to follow women and people of color from job to job, and has undermined the Equal Pay Act’s protections. While we are disappointed that the Supreme Court vacated the Ninth Circuit’s well-reasoned en banc decision, we note that the Supreme Court did not address the merits of the Equal Pay Act claim. We are confident that the Ninth Circuit will reach the same correct conclusion again, and we will continue to support efforts to fight pay discrimination based on salary history.


For immediate release: February 26, 2019
Contact: Inés Rénique ([email protected])