In response to a recommendation from president Obama’s National Equal Pay Enforcement Task Force, three district offices of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission are taking part in an Equal Pay Act Directed Investigation Pilot Project, in which employers are targeted for auditing instead of being audited in response to a charge of discrimination. It remains to be seen how employers are selected for auditing, but the EEOC says the pilot eventually could be expanded nationwide and that audits will include all employers, not just federal contractors.
Experts say employers would be wise to perform a preventative pay equity audit with the help of experienced outside attorneys and qualified statisticians. Auditors must identify factors that affect compensation—such as job title, pay grade or band, type of work performed, and level of responsibility—and review compensation policies and procedures, including pay grade or band structure, standards for bonuses, and performance evaluations. They should be prepared to find statistically significant compensation differences that may or may not involve discrimination and could necessitate pay adjustments. The results of these audits should be documented.