Equal Pay For Equal Work Act
Wage discrimination based on sex - complaints - civil action - exceptions to prohibitions against wage differentials - prohibited acts of employer - employment announcements required - enforcement - rules. The act removes the authority of the director of the division of labor standards and statistics in the department of labor and employment (director) to enforce wage discrimination complaints based on an employee's sex and instead authorizes the director to create and administer a process to accept and mediate complaints of, and provide legal resources concerning, alleged violations and to promulgate rules for this purpose. An aggrieved person may bring a civil action in district court to pursue remedies specified in the act.
The act allows exceptions to the prohibition against a wage differential based on sex if the employer demonstrates that a wage differential is not based on wage rate history and is based upon one or more of the following factors, so long as the employer applies the factors reasonably and they account for the entire wage rate differential:
- A seniority system;
- A merit system;
- A system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production;
- The geographic location where the work is performed;
- Education, training, or experience to the extent that they are reasonably related to the work in question; or
- Travel, if the travel is a regular and necessary condition of the work performed.
The act prohibits an employer from:
- Seeking the wage rate history of a prospective employee or requiring disclosure of wage rate as a condition of employment;
- Relying on a prior wage rate to determine a wage rate;
- Discriminating or retaliating against a prospective employee for failing to disclose the employee's wage rate history;
- Discharging or retaliating against an employee for actions by an employee asserting the rights established by the act against an employer; or
- Discharging, disciplining, discriminating against, or otherwise interfering with an employee for inquiring about, disclosing, or discussing the employee's wage rate.
The act requires an employer to announce to all employees employment advancement opportunities and job openings and the pay range for the openings. The director is authorized to enforce actions against an employer concerning transparency in pay and employment opportunities, including fines of between $500 and $10,000 per violation.
Employers are also required to maintain records of job descriptions and wage rate history for each employee while employed and for 2 years after the employment ends. Failure to maintain these records creates a rebuttable presumption, in a lawsuit alleging wage discrimination based on sex, that the records not maintained contained information favorable to the employee's claim.
(Note: This summary applies to this bill as enacted.)