Employment Law Daily Massachusetts equal pay law bars employer salary history inquiries before job offer
Thursday, August 4, 2016

Massachusetts equal pay law bars employer salary history inquiries before job offer

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on August 1 signed a bipartisan pay equity bill—An Act to Establish Pay Equity—to ensure equal pay for comparable work for all Massachusetts workers and equal opportunities to earn competitive salaries in the workplace. The bill, S. 2119, was passed unanimously by both legislative branches on July 23. The new law prohibits pay discrimination for comparable work based on gender. The bill also prohibits employers from requiring applicants to provide their salary history before receiving a formal job offer and permits employees to freely discuss their salaries with coworkers. It also and authorizes the Attorney General to issue regulations interpreting and applying the expanded law. Employers will, however, be permitted to take certain attributes of an employee or applicant into account when determining variation in pay, such as work experience, education, job training, or measurements of production, sales, or revenue. The statute of limitations laid out currently under the Equal Pay statute will be expanded from one to three years and employees will no longer be required to pursue a general claim of intentional discrimination at the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination before filing a separate equal pay claim in court. S. 2119 also provides for a special commission to investigate, analyze, and study the factors, causes, and impact of pay disparity based on gender. The commission is to submit a report no later than January 1, 2019, with subsequent reports filed each January 1. The final report is to be issued on January 1, 2024, and may include drafts of any proposed legislation to further reduce pay disparity based on gender. "I am pleased to sign bipartisan legislation to create a more level playing field in the commonwealth and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to earn a competitive salary for comparable work," Governor Baker said in a press release. "I thank the Legislature for unanimously passing this bill and working closely with the business community to support women and families across the state."

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