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August 24, 2009
Many HR and Compensation Pros Say They've Experienced Pay Bias

A large majority of HR and compensation professionals say that they have either suspected an employer has paid them less because of their gender or are sure that an employer has.

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The poll, conducted online by and, found that 38 percent of respondents said they suspected an employer paid them less because of their gender. Another 29 percent said they have more than suspected pay bias--they said they were “quite sure” an employer has paid them less because of their gender. The remaining respondents said they have never thought an employer has paid them less based on their gender.

The survey included nearly 200 respondents.

Discriminatory pay practices violate federal law. A recent change in federal law gives employees more time to file a complaint alleging pay bias.

The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act to clarify that the 180-day deadline for filing a complaint restarts each time an employee receives a paycheck that reflects past discrimination based on race, color, religion, gender, or national origin. The legislation also amended the Age Discrimination in Employment Act to establish the same deadline for discriminatory pay practices based on age.

The legislation was approved after the Supreme Court ruled that the deadline for filing pay-bias complaints was 180 days from the date the decision on their pay is made and communicated. In response to the ruling, lawmakers proposed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, saying the Supreme Court's deadline was too restrictive because pay bias sometimes takes a while to be uncovered. Compliance tips for the legislation can be found in's Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act: Take Action Now.

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