Pay Equity Litigation


As new and proposed legislation redraws the boundaries of actionable pay differences, it is becoming easier for the plaintiffs’ bar to bring pay discrimination claims. Combined with the growing trend of employee activism, these changes make managing pay equity an increasingly critical concern for employers. Today myriad statistical and non-statistical analyses can be used to show differences in pay. As a result, the challenge for an employer is to understand, and explain, the differences with legitimate non-discriminatory factors—or develop a mitigation strategy to reduce or eliminate such differences. In either case, the goal is to avoid class action litigation or OFCCP Notices of Violations, and to economically allocate the company’s resources to ensure appropriate pay for comparably situated employees. Paul Hastings can help.

When the stakes get large enough in pay equity litigation, Paul Hastings shows up on many companies’ shortlists. For more than 20 years, we have successfully defended massive pay equity class actions, and we are ranked as one of the top firms in the field.

We are known for our cutting-edge expertise in defending pay equity class actions. Our unparalleled record of defeating class actions, in motion practice and at trial, led The American Lawyer to nickname us “Class Action Killers.”

We provide the most sophisticated and successful court strategies in the field. This includes defeating class certification, decertifying classes, discrediting plaintiffs through depositions, winning on appeal, or even stepping in as replacement counsel on the eve of trial.

We have defended many of the toughest pay equity class actions brought across the country. Many clients insist on fighting class actions to prevent similar subsequent suits, and in those cases, we have defeated class certification and have often won on summary judgment. When a different approach is needed, our outright wins include complete walk-away dismissals, dismissals of class claims with court approval, and nominal settlements. We also mediate early and reach cost-effective settlements when it serves our clients’ objectives.

Through our multi-step investigations, and with a full understanding of the factual issues of a matter, we devise a strategy for defending against the threatened claims or, if appropriate, driving the case towards early confidential resolution.

  • “Paul Hastings’ labor and employment department is our first choice for employment matters. We have not found another firm that compares to its breadth of employment law expertise or consistently high level of service”

    ─ Chambers USA

A Strategic Approach to Managing Pay Equity Risks

  • We perform full pay equity analyses for employers, including evaluating whether pay differences can be explained by non-discriminatory factors, recommending mitigation strategies, and recommending pay practices to help facilitate compliance.

  • We gather and review relevant documents, such as employee-facing statements and internal human resources statements of pay practice, relevant training materials, documents reflecting the use of market data for the establishment of starting pay or salary ranges, and documents reflecting the determination of merit and promotional pay adjustments.

  • We conduct and structure interviews with subject matter experts to review pay practices.

Wide-Ranging Experience Advising Federal Contracts

  • We help federal contractors comply with their obligations under Executive Order 11246, Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the affirmative action obligations contained within the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act, 38 U.S.C. § 4212, and the associated implementing regulations.

  • Our team advises clients on effectively leveraging their Executive Order compliance programs in aid of more broadly directed diversity and inclusion programs.

  • We also advise on EEO-1/Form 4212 compliance, EEO pay analysis, testing validation and compliance with the many other Executive Orders and regulations impacting federal contractors.

  • Twice named the best “Class Action Killers”

    ─ The American Lawyer

Our Experience

  • Represented the largest transportation agency in the U.S. government in a long-running class action alleging the former of discriminating against the African Americans in hiring and promotions.

  • Represented a billion dollar conglomerate in a series of nationwide race, national origin, and gender class actions. Not only did we prevail against the individual plaintiffs, we also secured the dismissal of the EEOC Commissioners’ pattern-and-practice charges.

  • Represented one of the largest U.S. insurance companies in a nationwide class and collective action, alleging discrimination in pay, job assignments and promotion against hundreds of female insurance company attorneys.

  • Represented a multinational technology company in an alleged gender-bias suit filed by former female employees of the company. The former employees claimed the tech giant systematically paid women thousands of dollars less than their male peers fired off a bid to certify a class of nearly 11,000 women who say they also deserve recompense.

  • Represented an American multinational corporation that creates semiconductors, software, and services related to wireless technology in a nationwide class and collective action involving allegations of pay, promotion and other discrimination against women.

  • Conducted annual global EEO pay reviews, with mitigation strategy, for large telecommunications company.

  • Conducted facility level EEO pay reviews for numerous federal contractors relating to OFCCP compliance evaluations.

  • Conducted annual global EEO pay reviews for numerous high tech employers.

  • Conducted annual US EEO pay reviews for a large professional services company.

  • Defended a leading medical device provider in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against a current employee’s claims of pay discrimination under the Equal Pay Act and the District of Columbia Human Rights Act, retaliation, and violations of the DC Wage Payment Law.

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