As summer 2018 approaches, so does a host of new pay equity laws in several states.
Beginning June 7, Washington state will prohibit pay discrimination for employees who are “similarly employed.” The law specifically states that job titles are not enough to substantiate a wage gap between men and women. It’s about the type of work that is being performed and the required skill-set and training needed in order to do it.
Starting July 1, New Jersey will put into effect its new law regarding the level of difficulty for women and minorities to seek legal aid in claiming pay discrimination. Essentially, the new law makes it easier to submit a legal claim based on pay inequity. Something to note about New Jersey’s Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act is that the requirements of the state law set the bar much higher in regards to closing the wage gap between men and women. Like Washington state, men and women in different roles who perform “substantially similar work” will be required to be paid the same under the new law.
Vermont passed a law banning employers from asking about the salary histories of potential employees. The law goes into effect on July 1.
Connecticut also has passed legislation banning employers from asking about salary histories of job applicants, but its new state law goes into effect in January 2019.
At least 15 states are implementing new laws in 2018 to encourage pay equity, including bans on salary history, gender discrimination, retaliation, paid leave, and even protections for workers who are victims of domestic violence. Another 9 states are considering passing pay equity-related laws this year, including Illinois.
The recent legislative actions taken in these states demonstrate the continued trend to strengthen pay equity laws at the state level. This trend may prove to be a game changer for the landscape of pay equity law. Employers should prepare for more changes from states as we progress further into 2018 and 2019.
Employers should try to stay ahead of this trend by reviewing job hiring processes and paperwork to see if their companies’ practices are on top of new trends in pay equity law, including such practices as the avoidance of asking applicants about their previous salary or criminal history.
Employers should be especially careful if they are operating business in multiple states. The demand for pay equality is only going to grow, thereby continuing to put pressure on legislators at all levels to consider implementing similar pay equity legislation across the country.