In October 2015, New York passed eight bills that were known as the Women’s Equality Agenda. Seven of the provisions of this law went into effect on January 19, 2016. As an employer, it is important to understand your rights and responsibilities under this new equal pay law in New York.
What Are the Main Changes in the Women’s Equality Agenda that Affect Employers?
One aspect of the Women’s Equality Agenda increases women’s protection against pay differentials based on sex by replacing the current “any other factor than sex” exception, which typically referred to seniority, merit, or a quantity/quality of production system and other non-sex related factors. The law replaces the “any other factor than sex” with “a bona fide factor other than sex, such as education, training or experience.”
The factor must be job-related and the exception would not be valid if the employee could demonstrate that:
- The employer uses “a particular employment practice that causes a disparate impact on the basis of sex.”
- There was an alternate employment practice that would accomplish the same business purpose and the “employer has refused to adopt such a practice.”
Also, the law defines “business necessity” as a factor that bears a relevant relationship to the employment in question.
Two comparable employees in two different physical locations that are in the same geographic region should not show a differential in pay.
Right to Share Wage Information
Companies cannot prohibit employees from sharing wage information, and this would allow employees to discover whether pay was equal for both sexes.
Penalty for Wage Violation
Previously, employees who did not receive equal pay could collect 100% of the pay owed. But under the new law, employers owe them 300% in liquidated damages for the wages found to be due.
If you have questions or concerns about equal pay, Stephen Hans & Associates provide you with legal information and advise you in what to do.