The high court said the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit erred when it issued an opinion written by Judge Stephen R. Reinhardt 11 days after his death at age 87.
Reinhardt’s vote was critical in the appeals court’s decision that under the Equal Pay Act of 1963, an employer does not have a valid defense under the statute if it bases an employee’s starting salary entirely on her prior pay.
The 9th Circuit’s decision had come in the case of Aileen Rizo, a former math teacher who was hired in 2009 by the Fresno County, Calif., office of education as a math consultant. She later learned that her male colleagues had been hired as math consultants at higher steps on the office’s salary scale.
The Supreme Court vacated the 9th Circuit’s decision and returned the case to that court.
A version of this article appeared in the March 06, 2019 edition of Education Week as Supreme Court Tosses Equal-Pay Ruling, Citing Death of Appellate Judge