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Pay Equity Matters: Mind the Gap

Posts by Monica Snyder

Alabama recently joined 48 other states by passing a law banning wage discrimination. On June 11, Governor Kay Ivey signed HB 225, known as the Clarke Figures Equal Pay Act, into law. The Act’s effective date is August 1. In passing the new law, Alabama now joins over a dozen other states which prohibit employers from discriminating against applicants based on their pay history. The idea behind such prohibition is that, in doing so, employers perpetuate the wage gap among men and women by locking women into unfair, discriminatory pay levels.

Tags: Equal Pay

Maine has recently joined the growing number of states that have passed laws prohibiting employers from requiring new or prospective employees to provide information regarding their prior salary or compensation. On April 12, Maine’s first female Governor Janet Mills signed into law “An Act Regarding Pay Equality.” The new law, which will go into effect on September 17, 2019—90 days after Maine ends its current legislative section—seeks to end wage inequality by prohibiting employers from taking salary history into account when setting compensation for new employees. Maine is the latest state in New England to pass legislation imposing this prohibition, following Massachusetts and Connecticut.

An Oregon federal court just shot down Nike Inc.’s request to dismiss a pay equity class action claim fronted by four current and former Nike executives. In her February 26 ruling, a federal magistrate judge recommended that the case should proceed, as it adequately presented allegations that the company employed systemic practices that damaged all female employees. The ruling presents a stark reminder to all employers of the dangers of pay gaps while reinforcing the need to engage in critical compensation self-audits (with your counsel’s assistance).

The first lawsuit filed under the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA)—a claim against the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO)—was settled last week pursuant to the terms of a confidential agreement between the parties.

Do a flutist and an oboist for the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO) perform comparable work? What about an Executive Director in the Office of Language Learners and an Executive Director in the Office of Human Capital for the Boston public school system? These are the essential questions that courts in Massachusetts are currently grappling with under the new Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (MEPA), which requires businesses to pay men and women equally for “comparable work.”

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