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Companies continue to use discriminatory pay systems. Census figures released yesterday confirm that blacks and Hispanics continue to be paid less than whites for higher-paying jobs – and that the differentials are larger than they have been in a decade. Census income reports show:

• Blacks with four year college degrees earned $46,502, or about 78 percent of what comparably educated whites earned;

This is the largest pay disparity between professional blacks and whites since 2001, when the differential was 77%. By 2005, the differential had fallen to 83% but has increased since that time.

• Hispanics with bachelor’s degrees had an average salary of $44,696, or about 75% of what similarly educated whites earned.

Hispanics had closed the gap to 87% in 2000, but the trend seen with a widening gap also affected this group.

The gender pay gap is even greater: women with at least a bachelor’s degree earned an average salary of $43,127, about 60% the amount earned by comparably educated men.

It remains to be seen if the legislation aimed at correcting such pay disparities, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act which was signed into law earlier this year, will decrease the disparities and bring about more pay equity. This law relaxes that time in which claims may be brought – discriminatory wage systems on race or gender may be preserved with a filing with the EEOC within 180 days of the last discriminatory pay check received (or within 300 days in Virginia and other states with “state deferral agencies”). Check with your local EEOC office to see which date applies to you).

For more information on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, see my earlier blogs on this important legislation on this site.

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