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Equal Pay: Comparing Federal and Indiana Laws

black woman presenting to white colleagues

If a black woman and a white man both start working the same job on January 1, 2017, today (August 7) would be the day that woman would achieve the same collected wage that the white man received by the end of 2017. While women overall achieve a man’s 12-month salary in 16 months (which was recognized on April 10), black women have to work 20 months before hitting the same salary. According to a study from the American Association of University Women, Indiana ranks 46th in gender pay equality.

A person could make a career out of analyzing the think-pieces that discuss the societal and economic reasons that created such a disparity but each employer has a chance to ensure that they are not contributing to this problem. In the U.S., a land where all *ahem* people *ahem* are created equal, we have laws to encourage employers to pay men and women the same or else face legal consequences. Both federal and Indiana state laws protect against sex-based wage discrimination but one may be more applicable than the other, depending on the circumstances. Check out the chart below for more information on the two laws because either or both may apply at your business. Be aware, this discusses the law as of August 2018 and does not take into consideration any local ordinances.

If you have concerns about wage disparities at your business, contact your attorney or Van Gorp Legal Services.




Name of Statute Equal Pay Act (EPA)

29 U.S.C. § 206(d)

Indiana Equal Pay Law (IEPL)

Ind. Code § 22-2-2-4(d)

What Statute Addresses Sex discrimination in wages 29 U.S.C. § 206(d) Sex discrimination in wages Ind. Code § 22-2-2-4(d)
Employers Covered Any person acting directly or indirectly in the interest of an employer in relation to an employee. Also any labor organizations when acting as employers. 29 U.S.C. § 203(r) Any person, partnership, LLC, corporation, or business trust during any work week in which they have two (2) or more employees. Does not include any employer subject to FLSA. Ind. Code § 22-2-2-3
Individuals Covered Employees (as defined by 29 USC §§ 203(e)(1) and 206(d)) Employees and contractors Ind. Code § 22-2-2-3
Conduct Prohibited Unequal pay for equal work based on sex (29 U.S.C. § 206(d)(1)) and retaliation (29 U.S.C. § 215(a)(3)) Unequal pay for equal work based on sex (Ind. Code § 22-2-2-4) and retaliation (Ind. Code § 22-2-2-11)
Individual Liability Depends on the court Employer agent can be subject to criminal liability from discrimination or retaliation. Ind. Code § 22-2-2-11
Available Remedies Back pay, Liquidated damages, or equitable relief for retaliation claims. 29 U.S.C. § 216(b) Unpaid wages or liquidated damages. Ind. Code § 22-2-2-9
Statute of Limitations Generally must be brought within two (2) years but often extended to three (3) years when violation is willful. 29 U.S.C. § 255(a) Claim must be brought within three (3) years after cause of action. Ind. Code § 22-2-2-9
Posting Requirements None Employer must post in conspicuous place a single page poster with notice of: 1) Current Indiana minimum wage, 2) employee’s basic rights under minimum wage law, and 3) contact information for Indiana Department of Labor. Ind. Code § 22-2-2-8

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