Texas is one of few states without an Equal Pay Act

Texas Workforce Commission website

Texas is one of a few states without an Equal Pay Act.

A civil rights attorney in Amarillo, Jeff Blackburn, explained the current law in Texas for workplace fairness.

â??Itâ??s against the law to be discriminated against,â?? Blackburn said. â??It doesnâ??t mean you have an absolute right to equal pay. Youâ??ll have to prove that youâ??re being discriminated against. You have to prove that. You canâ??t just say â??well Iâ??m being paid less than that guy.â?? It takes a lot more proof than that, the burdenâ??s on you.â??

But do any employers in Amarillo pay men more than women for the same job, same duties and same work experience? Vicki Wilmarth is an employment attorney who represents employers and she said yes.

â??There have definitely been some cases where employers were not paying equal pay between men and women,â?? Wilmarth said. â??But as a rule as what I have found in 25 years of practicing in the area of employment is that the employers are trying to do the right thing, but they either donâ??t know the law or things slip by them.â??

Texas requires disparate pay claims to be made within 180 days of when the discrimination began through the Texas Workforce Commission.

Under federal law, such claims can be filed within 180 days of when discrimination was discovered.

If someone in Texas discovers disparate pay after 180 days of when it began, Blackburn said he/she would have to file with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or through a federal court.

â??Youâ??re going to have to go to a federal agency that is understaffed, overworked and underfunded that may take upward of a year or two to even get around to looking at your case,â?? Blackburn said.

Gov. Rick Perry vetoed House Bill 950, a Texas version of the Lilly Ledbetter Act, in June 2013 because he said it duplicates federal law.