In 2017, the National Women’s Law Center joined an amicus brief asking the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its decision in Rizo v. Yovino. In that case, the Ninth Circuit held that employers’ reliance on prior salary alone to set employee compensation may justify paying a woman less than a comparable male employee under the federal Equal Pay Act.
The Ninth Circuit agreed to rehear the case en banc, and in 2018 held that employers’ reliance on prior salary to set compensation does not justify paying a man more than a woman for the same job. Shortly thereafter, the employer filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case.
In February 2019, the Supreme Court granted the petition. Without addressing the merits of the Equal Pay Act 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.
NWLC’s statement on the Supreme Court’s action can be found here.
UPDATE 9/20/19: Upon remand from the Supreme Court, the Ninth Circuit ordered the parties to submit supplemental briefing addressing the Supreme Court’s opinion and any new information since the case was last submitted to the en banc Ninth Circuit. In September 2019, NWLC joined an amicus brief from women’s, workers’ and civil rights organizations in support of the plaintiff, Aileen Rizo.