State Equal Pay Protections

California Legislature Draws Inspiration from UK Pay Gap Reporting Requirements with New Bill

The California legislature is poised to continue its trailblazing streak of equal pay legislation with a new pay gap reporting bill. If approved and signed by Governor Jerry Brown, AB 1209 would add Section 2810.7 to the California Labor Code and require certain large employers to report pay gap statistics on an annual basis beginning in 2019. READ MORE

The Pay Equity Plot Thickens: Unique Aspects of Newly Adopted Oregon Equal Pay Act Warrant Special Attention

On June 1, 2017, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed into law the Oregon Equal Pay Act of 2017 (House Bill 2005). Although pay equity legislation has been proposed or passed in a number of jurisdictions throughout the country, Oregon’s new law merits special attention.  The obligations it imposes on employers seeking to justify pay differentials are arguably among the strictest in the nation, but it also affords employers some key protections and potential safe harbors.  Given the focus by government agencies and plaintiffs’ attorneys on pay equity in the technology sector out West, companies seeking to maintain or expand in the so-called “Silicon Forest” should pay special attention to the provisions of this new law.

We took a deep dive into the background and history of the legislation, and share some key observations about what it says—and doesn’t say—here. READ MORE

Massachusetts Signs Into Law Far Reaching Pay Equity Bill

On August 1, 2016, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law a pay equity bill which the Massachusetts Legislature passed by unanimous vote on July 23, 2016. The pay equity act is one of the strongest and most unique in the nation.  Chief among the unique features is the prohibition on the use of prior salary in setting compensation and an affirmative defense for employers who conduct pay audits.  The legislation differs from the federal Equal Pay Act (EPA) and other recent state pay equity laws, including California and Maryland, in several ways.

Comparable Work Presents a Broader Standard

The EPA requires that men and women in the same workplace receive equal pay for “equal work.” “Equal work” means their jobs need not be identical, but “substantially equal.”  The newly passed Massachusetts legislation only requires “comparable work,” meaning work that is substantially similar in that it requires substantially similar skill, effort and responsibility and is performed under similar working conditions.  Thus, the legislation will give employees a larger pool of “comparator jobs” to point to should they feel underpaid in relation to their gender opposites.  In fact, the “comparable work” standard appears to be similar to the broader-based standard used in pay-disparity claims under Title VII, except that Title VII also requires proof of intent.  Recent Maryland and California laws also expand the pool of comparators. READ MORE

Updated Maps: States With Equal Pay Protections and Pending Equal Pay Legislation

As we noted in a previous post, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan signed the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act of 2016 (“Equal Pay Act”) into law on May 19, 2016 (effective on October 1, 2016). With the passage of this new law, Maryland joins New York and California in the category of states with some of the country’s most expansive equal pay protections. Included below are our updated maps of states with equal pay protections and  of states with equal pay protections and states with pending equal pay legislation.

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Maryland Takes the Lead in Aggressive State Equal Pay Legislation

Last week, Maryland became the most recent state to expand its equal pay protections, when Governor Larry Hogan signed the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act of 2016 (“Equal Pay Act”) into law.  Maryland joins states like New York and California, which have some of the country’s most expansive equal pay protections. Unlike New York and California, Maryland’s law was signed by a Republican governor, which establishes that equal pay efforts have crossed party lines.  The new law introduces two new features into the equal pay fray: gender identity and “work of comparable character.”

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