A US federal court has ruled that women cannot be paid less than men for doing the same work based on their previous salaries—a promising step in the right direction to close the gender pay gap.
On Monday, a unanimous 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided that pay differences based on prior salaries are discriminatory under the federal Equal Pay Act.
According to CBS, the ruling overturned a much-criticised decision in 2017 by a smaller panel of 9th Circuit judges.
“The Equal Pay Act stands for a principle as simple as it is just: men and women should receive equal pay for equal work regardless of sex,” Circuit Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote before his death last month.
“The financial exploitation of working women embodied by the gender pay gap continues to be an embarrassing reality of our economy."
Judge Reinhardt continued: “To allow employers to capitalize on the persistence of the wage gap and perpetuate that gap ad infinitum … would be contrary to the text and history of the Equal Pay Act, and would vitiate [void] the very purpose for which the Act stands.”