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According to a Monday report from the Associated Press, a federal appeals court said when employees are doing the same job, employers cannot pay women less than men based on differences in the pay they received at previous jobs.

From the AP: Pay differences based on prior salaries are discriminatory under the federal Equal Pay Act, a unanimous 11-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said.

The decision overturned a ruling last year by a smaller panel of 9th Circuit judges that had been criticized by equal pay advocates.

Allowing pay differences based on previous salaries would perpetuate wage gaps between men and women that are based on discrimination in the job market, Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote.

Reinhardt — considered among the most liberal members of the 9th Circuit — wrote the opinion before he died last month.

“Although the (Equal Pay) Act has prohibited sex-based wage discrimination for more than fifty years, the financial exploitation of working women embodied by the gender pay gap continues to be an embarrassing reality of our economy,” Reinhardt wrote.


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