Equal pay for equal work

Equal pay for equal work
Subway Surface Supervisors Assn. v New York City Tr. Auth., 2013 NY Slip Op 00276, Appellate Division, First Department

In deciding this appeal, the Appellate Division, in a three to two decision, said that Civil Service Law §115 codifies a critical public policy, which is that, "to attract unusual merit and ability to the service of the state of New York, to stimulate higher efficiency among the personnel, to provide skilled leadership in administrative departments, to reward merit and to insure to the people and the taxpayers of the state of New York the highest return in services for the necessary costs of government," there should be "equal pay for equal work, and regular increases in pay in proper proportion to increase of ability, increase of output and increase of equality of work demonstrated in service."

In Bertoldi v State of New York, 275 AD2d 227, the Appellate Division, First Department, stated that "[t]he principle of equal pay for equal work need not be applied in all cases under any and all circumstances." The clear implication of that statement, said the court, is that there are circumstances in which the principle of equal pay for equal work must be applied and that “this Court has the power to apply it.”

Further, the Appellate Division explained, “The mere fact that there are no reported cases in which a court has exercised such power does not mean that courts do not have that power.”

While case law establishes that a court need not presume that a disparity in pay is violative of §115, the Appellate Division said a court nevertheless may correct the disparity where "there is palpable discrimination or arbitrary action detrimental to the individual or class," citing Beer v Board of Educ. of City of N.Y., 83 NYS2d 485.

The decision is posted on the Internet at: