Two Bills Expand the Equal Pay Act

Two Bills Expand the Equal Pay Act

by Jarred S. Lieber, Esq.

Senate Bill 1063 expands the Equal Pay Act by prohibiting an employer from paying any of its employees at wage rates less than the rates paid to employees of another race or ethnicity for substantially similar work when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility, and performed under similar working conditions, unless the employer demonstrates that :(A) a seniority system; (B) a merit system; (C) a system that measures earnings by quantity or quality of production; or (D) a bona fide factor other than sex, such as education, training, or experience account for the entire wage differential.

Assembly Bill 1676 also expands the Equal Pay Act by specifying that prior salary cannot, by itself, justify any disparity in compensation under the bona fide factor exception to the above prohibition.

The rationale behind these laws is that changing jobs is often the best opportunity women and minorities have to increase their pay, so they should not be penalized by their prior, possibly discriminatory, salaries.