Despite real progress in recent years, the glass ceiling still exists. According to the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), the average working woman earns only 75 cents for every dollar a man earns. "That gap is too wide," says DOL spokesperson Chung Seto.
This pay discrimination is an outright violation of the Equal Pay Act. If you don't pay workers the same money for doing the same job, given identical background and experience, it could cost you plenty in fines.
James Pabarue, senior shareholder and director of the Employment Practice Group at the Philadelphia law firm Christie, Pabarue, Mortenson and Young, has advice for entrepreneurs. "Small businesses [have] to thoroughly review its payroll to determine if any differences in pay exist for the same type of position and if there is any justification for it. If there is no justification, then necessary adjustments should be made today, or better yet, yesterday."
The DOL offers advice and training on compensation issues. For a local referral, check out the department's Web site, http://www.dol.gov.
Ellen Paris is a Washington, DC, writer and former Forbes magazine staff writer.