Pay Equity Laws

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What is pay equity?

Pay equity is a means of eliminating gender and ethnic discrimination in the wage-setting system. In this context, the criteria which employers use to determine wages must be gender- and ethnicity-neutral.

What is pay equity legislation?

The overarching purpose of pay equity legislation is to prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of gender or ethnicity in the payment of wages. To assist candidates and clients alike throughout the hiring process, Charles Aris Inc.’s Pay Equity Laws webpage contains relevant information associated with pay equity legislation enacted around the United States. Our Pay Equity Laws webpage, which we’ll update whenever new legislation is passed, features:

  • Bill name
  • Effective start date
  • Violations and penalties
  • Exceptions related to voluntary disclosure and interview guidelines

States, Territories & Municipalities

Local Law No. P for 2016 — Albany County, New York

Effective Date: December 17, 2017
Violations: Employers of at least four employees may not seek pay history of a candidate from any current or former employer.
Penalties: Compensatory damages, reinstatement (with or without back pay) and oversight by Albany Commission on Human Rights. Potential private right of action.
Exceptions
Voluntary Disclosure: This is not presently addressed.
Interview Guidelines: (not addressed)

Bill: AB 168 — California

Effective Date: January 1, 2018
Violations: Seek a candidate’s salary history including compensation and benefits.
Penalties: Salary inquiries – unpaid wages and interest, plus an equal amount as liquidated damages and attorney fees.
Exceptions
Voluntary Disclosure: This is not presently addressed.
Interview Guidelines: (not addressed)

Bill: HB 1 — Delaware

Effective Date: December 14, 2017
Violations: Seek pay history of a candidate from applicant or former or current employer, including benefits and other compensation.
Penalties: Salary inquiries – civil penalty from $1,000 to $5,000 for first offense; $5,000 to $10,000 for each additional violation.
Exceptions
Voluntary Disclosure: Employers may not rely on information, even if it is voluntarily disclosed, until employment offers have been made and accepted.
Interview Guidelines: (not addressed)

Bill: 2017 Chapter 177 — Massachusetts

Effective Date: July 1, 2018
Violations: Seek a candidate’s salary history; condition an interview or consideration of an offer on the disclosure of salary history;
Penalties: Salary inquiries and unfair pay – unpaid wages and interest, plus an equal amount of those wages and interest as liquidated damages; attorney fees.
Exceptions
Voluntary Disclosure: This is not presently addressed.
Interview Guidelines: (not addressed)

Bill: MJL17-01 — New Orleans

Effective Date: January 25, 2017 (This is only in effect within city limits.)
Violations: Seek pay history of candidates; or question candidates about salary history during the application process;
Penalties: There are no penalties at this time.
Exceptions
Voluntary Disclosure: This is not presently addressed.
Interview Guidelines: (not addressed)

Bill: Intro. 1253 — New York City

Effective Date: October 31, 2017
Violations: Seek pay history of a candidate, including wages, benefits and other compensation; search for publicly available records to obtain compensation history; or rely on salary history during any stage of the hiring process unless disclosed willingly;
Penalties: Salary inquiries – up to $125,000 for civil penalties; up to $250,000 for “intentional malicious violations”.
Exceptions
Voluntary Disclosure: Employers may rely on information gathered through voluntary disclosure. This is not a violation.
Interview Guidelines: Employers may engage candidates in discussions about salary, benefits and other compensation expectations without violating the law.

Bill: HB 2005 — Oregon

Effective Date: October 6, 2017 (Parts of the statute are not in effect until January 1, 2019. Civil suits cannot be brought until January 1, 2024.)
Violations: Seek pay history of a candidate from applicant or former or current employer; or screen compensation history of an applicant and determine salary offer based on compensation history;
Penalties: Salary inquiries and unfair pay – punitive damages and attorney’s fees
Exceptions
Voluntary Disclosure: Employers may rely on salary information gathered through voluntary disclosure but cannot pressure candidates for it.
Interview Guidelines: (not addressed)

Bill: Bill No. 160840 — Philadelphia

Effective Date: May 23, 2017 (This is not in effect while under review by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.)
Violations: Seek pay history of a candidate, including earnings, commissions and fringe benefits; set an interview to contract candidate’s nondisclosure of salary history; or rely on salary history during any stage of the hiring process unless disclosed willingly;
Penalties: Salary inquiries – Civil penalties up to $2,000 incurred for each violation. Repeated violations will lead to imprisonment for 90 days.
Exceptions
Voluntary Disclosure: Employers may rely on information gathered via voluntary disclosure. This is not a violation.
Interview Guidelines: Employers may engage candidates in discussions about salary, benefits and other compensation expectations without violating the law.

Bill: Act No. 16 — Puerto Rico

Effective Date: March 8, 2017
Violations: Seek pay history of candidates; or prevent employers from prohibiting discussions about salaries among employees or applicants with certain exceptions for human resources, managerial, and supervisory personnel
Penalties: Salary inquiries – Companies which retaliate against employees who address pay inequality will face double damages. Penalties will not take effect until March 8, 2018.
Exceptions
Voluntary Disclosure: Employers may rely on information gathered through voluntary disclosure. It is not a violation if a salary was already negotiated with a candidate and an offer letter was set.
Interview Guidelines: Employers may engage candidates in discussions about salary expectations without violating the law.

Bill: No. 170350 — San Francisco

Effective Date: July 1, 2018
Violations: Seek pay history of a candidate. Pay history does not include revenue, sales or other production reports.
Penalties: Warning and notice to correct for first violation; $100 for second violation; up to $200 for third violation; up to $500 for each subsequent violation; legal and equitable relief.
Exceptions
Voluntary Disclosure: Employers may rely on information gathered via voluntary disclosure. This is not a violation.
Interview Guidelines: Employers may engage candidates in discussions about salary, benefits and other compensation expectations without violating the law.

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