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"Equal Pay Act" and Church-Run Schools

Do federal labor laws apply to church schools?

• A federal district court in Indiana ruled that the "Equal Pay Act" applies to a church-operated school. A Baptist church operated a private school. The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") sued the church for alleged violations of the Equal Pay Act. The EEOC alleged that the church unlawfully paid higher wages and benefits to male teachers than to a class of female teachers performing equal work, and further that the church unlawfully reduced the male teachers' wages in an attempt to comply with the Equal Pay Act. The Equal Pay Act was enacted in 1963 as an amendment to the Fair Labor Standards Act (the federal minimum wage and overtime law). The Equal Pay Act provides that no employer covered by the Act shall discriminate … between employees on the basis of sex by paying wages to employees … at a rate less than the rate at which he pays wages to ...

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Richard R. Hammar is an attorney, CPA and author specializing in legal and tax issues for churches and clergy.

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